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Factors that influence father’s experiences of childbirth and their implications upon postnatal mental health: a narrative systematic review

McNab, Emma; Hollins Martin, Caroline J.; Norris, Gail

Authors

Emma McNab



Abstract

Aim
To explore factors that influence fathers’ experiences of childbirth and implications for their subsequent postnatal mental health.

Background
Fathers who attend the birth of their baby often have very rewarding experiences. However, those who witness a difficult birth may progress to develop subsequent mental health problems, e.g., trauma symptoms that can affect future relationships with partner and infant.

Method
A narrative systematic review of literature was carried out. Two overarching themes were identified, each with 3 underpinning sub-themes: (1) Interpersonal relationships with maternity care professionals; (1b) Communication; (1b) Feeling isolated during labour; (1c) Being prepared; (2) The aftermath; (2a) Support provision; (2b) Effects on relationships; (2c) Psychological trauma.

Conclusions
Findings emphasise that good communication between fathers and midwives is a fundamental part of providing excellent care before, during and post-childbirth, as it can reduce partners’ feelings of isolation, improve their relationships and limit development and impact of psychological trauma.

Recommendations for practice
It is important to develop more on-line partner sites, parenthood education programmes and support groups, which include education about how to prevent, recognise, support and treat mental health complications. Also, further in-depth qualitative studies would enhance understanding of specific aspects of labour that traumatise fathers.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 23, 2022
Online Publication Date Sep 26, 2022
Publication Date 2022-11
Deposit Date Sep 28, 2022
Publicly Available Date Sep 27, 2023
Journal Nurse Education in Practice
Print ISSN 1471-5953
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 65
Article Number 103460
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2022.103460
Keywords BSS-R, experience(s), childbirth, father(s), mental health, partner, review, trauma
Public URL http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/Output/2925459

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