Don’t Forget About The Baby Daddy!November 16, 2011 No Comments
When women are pregnant all the attention seems to go to them, which is fair enough, but we need to remember that fathers are just as important and should be just as involved in health care and hospital appointments.
Midwives have had to be told that they aren’t paying enough attention to male partners and should make greater efforts to involve fathers-to-be in antenatal and maternity care. A 16-page document produced in the UK provides simple examples of how this could be done, such as offering seats to men who attend antenatal appointments with partners and giving advice on how to be helpful in the labour room.
The document also suggests that antenatal classes should be arranged at times when men can easily attend such as in the evenings and on Sundays. This would actually benefit women as well as men as, although pregnant women in the UK are entitled to take time off work for antenatal classes, working women might well prefer to not have to take time off.
At my local maternity unit there are postnatal rooms with double beds so that couples and babies can all stay the night together in the same room if the baby or woman needs to stay in hospital. Other hospitals provide reclining chairs for fathers to sleep in so that they can stay overnight at the hospital with their new family. Unfortunately though, many hospitals provide nothing like this for fathers.
Men should be made to feel important and valued when they attend antenatal appointments with their partners and in the delivery suite. It doesn’t take more than a couple of seconds for a midwife to ask how the father-to-be is feeling during consultations and doing so might help to detect men who are at risk of developing antenatal or postnatal depression.
Fatherhood is a life-changing evolutionary experience. We hear constantly that fathers need to be more involved with their families in order for children to grow up into well-rounded individuals. Taking active steps to include fathers, rather than just paying lip service to the idea is needed. Respect for fatherhood from the word “go,” including in antenatal care, would help push that concept forward.
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