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Fathers’ Experiences of Being Present at an Unplanned Out-of-Hospital Birth: A Qualitative Study

Authors Jarneid H, Gjestad K, Røseth I, Dahl B

Received 14 July 2020

Accepted for publication 24 September 2020

Published 23 October 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 1235—1244

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S272021

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Henriette Jarneid,1 Kristin Gjestad,1 Idun Røseth,1,2 Bente Dahl1

1Centre for Women’s, Family and Child Health, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, University of South-Eastern Norway, Kongsberg N-3603, Norway; 2Department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Telemark Hospital, Skien, Norway

Correspondence: Bente Dahl Email bente.dahl@usn.no

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.

Keywords: born before arrival, experience, father, out-of-hospital birth, qualitative

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