OBJECTIVE: in the UK, midwives are facing a policy-drive to include men in antenatal care, and men will soon receive paternity leave to enable their involvement. As a result, more men will be able to attend screening, support women and participate in decision-making. We therefore conducted a timely exploration of what being involved means for men and what they want from antenatal screening and midwives.
DESIGN AND SETTING: in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 12 men were carried out, mostly by telephone. Data were analysed using grounded theory.
FINDINGS: we constructed three themes and showed that (1) in normal pregnancies, men knew little about screening, and were happy for midwives to take control during appointments, (2) in complicated pregnancies, men wanted to be more actively involved but some perceived that they faced suspicions of being coercive if voicing opinions, and (3) over time, men became more adept at communicating with midwives, but some disengaged from screening because of poor communication with midwives and/or a lack of faith in the benefits of screening.
CONCLUSION: findings build on other studies to highlight the multiplicity of roles men play during screening. For men and women to reap the benefits of men's involvement in antenatal screening, good communication is required between midwives and couples. Communication training could help to improve care delivery and the relationships between men, women and midwives.
- Attitude to Health
- Prenatal Diagnosis/psychology
- Qualitative Research
- United Kingdom