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Keywords:

  • child development;
  • father-child relations;
  • fatherhood;
  • infancy;
  • pregnancy

Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, 9-month resident father surveys (N= 6,816), this paper examines the association between male pregnancy intentions, prenatal behaviors, and postbirth father involvement. Findings indicate that prenatal behaviors are associated with five domains of father involvement. Men who did not want the pregnancy are less likely to exhibit paternal warmth following the birth, whereas men who wanted the pregnancy sooner than it occurred are more likely to exhibit nurturing behaviors. The influence of fathers’ pregnancy intentions and prenatal behaviors on postbirth involvement is for the most part not dependent on child gender. Findings suggest that prenatal programs that encourage fathers to actively participate in the pregnancy may be beneficial to later child well-being.