Fathers’ Experiences of Being Present at an Unplanned Out-of-Hospital Birth: A Qualitative Study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJarneid, H., Gjestad, K., Røseth, I., & Dahl, B. (2020). Fathers’ Experiences of Being Present at an Unplanned Out-of-Hospital Birth: A Qualitative Study. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, 13. https://doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S272021
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate fathers' experiences of being present at an unplanned birth outside a maternity facility. Materials and methods: This was a qualitative interview study with 12 fathers from six of Norway's eleven counties. All had been present at an unplanned out-of-hospital birth in 2015-2020. Data were analyzed using systematic text condensation. Results: The data analysis resulted in four themes. The first theme described the fathers' stress and worry and how they managed to keep a cool head and think rationally in a totally unprepared situation. The second theme described the fathers' need for help and the reassuring feeling provided by contact with health professionals. The third theme described how the birth increased the father's attachment to his partner and baby, while the fourth theme described fathers' feelings of exclusion and their reactions following the birth. Conclusion: Fathers' perceived lack of expertise and their fear of complications led to stress, worry and anxiety, but support from health personnel provided reassurance and control. Many fathers experienced mastery, pride and joy after the birth, but when arriving at hospital, they felt rejected and wished that maternity care staff had approached them to talk about the experience.