Nordic fathers’ willingness to participate during pregnancy

Helle Johnsen, Eva K. Persson, Pernilla Stenback, Britt-Marie Halldén, Elizabeth Crang Svalenius

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftsartikelForskningpeer review


Objective: This study aims to illuminate expectant first-time fathers’ experiences of participation during pregnancy in three Nordic countries.

Background: Fathers’ participation in pregnancy is associated with improved health for the family as a whole. Research so far has primarily explored fathers’ participation in pregnancy within health care settings. It is important to know more about how fathers today engage in all aspects of pregnancy.

Methods: Content analysis was used to analyse semi-structured interviews with 31 first time fathers from Denmark, Finland and Sweden. Interviews were undertaken when their partner was pregnant 30 weeks or more.

Results: Data analysis resulted in the main category ‘Willingness to participate’ and the two generic categories: ‘Being beside the “bump”’ and ‘Cementing the partnership’. ‘Being beside the “bump”’ was supported by the subcategories: ‘Visualising the unborn child’, ‘Being included in the rites of motherhood,’ ‘Lacking full control’, ‘Compensating for lack of embodiment’ and ‘Adopting an active father role’. ‘Cementing the partnership’ encompassed the subcategories: ‘Strengthening the partner relationship’, ‘Meeting the professionals, ‘Sharing experiences with peers’ and ‘Protecting their child and their partner’.

Conclusion: Fathers wanted to participate and be responsible from the beginning of pregnancy. Fathers’ participation in pregnancy involves a wide range of activities and strategies both within the domestic and the professional care-giving sphere. Health care professional’s approaches to the father-to-be can enhance or reduce experiences of inclusion in antenatal care.
TidsskriftJournal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)223-235
Antal sider12
StatusUdgivet - 2017


  • jordemoderarbejdet
  • gravidi