Male and female involvement in the birth and child-rearing process



Aims and objectives

To know the male involvement during pregnancy and childbirth, with special attention to their participation in public services of perinatal health and the impact that this participation has on their subsequent involvement in child-rearing, to compare the male and female involvement in child-rearing and to identify the factors associated with a greater male involvement.


Most of the research on male involvement in birth and child-rearing comes from Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian countries. These studies show a lower involvement of men in relation to women, even in countries with instruments to promote gender shared responsibility. The Spanish Ministry of Health has developed strategies to improve the male involvement in the public services of perinatal health to advance in gender equality. This is a suitable context to contribute to the lack of information about fatherhood and the gender inequalities in the Spanish context.


Transversal design.


A questionnaire was administered to 150 fathers and 157 mothers residing in Granada, with at least one biological child aged 2 months to 3 years.


A minority of the men attended the childbirth education whereas most of them attended pregnancy check-ups and were present at birth. Women spent more time with their children and took charge of tasks of child-rearing to a larger extent. The profile of an involved father is a man with a higher level of education, not married, his partner has a full-time employment, born in Spain and attended to the childbirth education classes.


This study shows gender inequalities in the reproductive field beyond the biological conditions.

Relevance to clinical practice

The challenge of the health services is to promote social change and identify areas for improvement to include the father figure in public services of perinatal health.