204465 Role of Male Partners in Childbirth Decision Making: An Exploratory Study

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sharon DeJoy, MPH, LM, CPM , Department of Community and Family Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Fathers often play a pivotal role in a woman's childbirth experience. Despite a recent increase in research into men's roles in other reproductive health decisions, there is a comparative lack of inquiry into men's role in childbirth decision-making. Now that childbirth truly has become a couple-centered event, more research is needed on the father's role in decision-making processes and its effects on the trajectory of labor and birth. Specifically, many birth advocacy organization are conducting public education campaigns to reduce women's use of interventions in childbirth; however, most of these campaigns, as well as many childbirth education classes, are aimed at mothers without knowledge of how fathers/male partners play into the decision-making process.

To address this knowledge gap, the researcher conducted an exploratory, qualitative study of 15 first-time parenting couples in Florida. Couples were interviewed separately near the end of pregnancy and in the first six weeks of the postpartum period. Women and their partners were asked similar questions about their plans for labor and delivery, their interactions as a dyad, and their decision-making process as a couple both prior to and during delivery. The study identified common themes that illustrate how men influence women's decision, as well as the beliefs, concerns and priorities that motivate men's participation. By understanding male partners' needs and level of influence in the childbirth decision-making process, health educators and providers can identify ways to help families make informed decisions to achieve optimal pregnancy outcomes.

Learning Objectives:
Describe male partner's influence on women's decision about childbirth. Identify men's beliefs and concerns about childbirth that influence decision making.

Keywords: Perinatal Health, Health Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the principal Investogator of the study, responsible for design, data collection and analysis, and interpretation of results.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.