Fathers-to-be who know the sex of their unborn baby find it easier to bond with him or her
Men with a name for the baby also find bonding easierThis is because they are better able to imagine named unborn babies as real people they could father
Attending scans can also help men feel more connected
15:35 GMT, 25 April 2013
15:36 GMT, 25 April 2013
Fathers who know the sex of their unborn child and give him or her a name find it easier to bond with their baby.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham looked at men’s experiences of, and feelings about, becoming a father.
They found that knowing the sex allowed men to think of the unborn child as a person they could
father, and someone who they could develop a relationship with.
Fathers who know the sex of their unborn baby and give him, or her, a name find it easier to bond with their baby
The researchers followed 11 men over a period of
nine months, from the first scan to eight weeks after the birth of
their child. The ages of participants ranged from 22 to 58.
They mapped the men's journeys from the
discovery of pregnancy to the early days of fatherhood in an attempt to
discover how to make men feel involved in pregnancy and parenthood.
The study found that some men's understanding of what it means to be a good man could act as a barrier to being drawn into antenatal or postnatal care.
However, the researchers believe that this 'manly' attitude to childcare does not necessarily mean that the father-to-be lacks commitment to fatherhood.
They believe that these men just need help working out how they can be involved in the pregnancy while still retaining their self-image.
The report states: ‘Encouraging fathers to become actively involved, and drawing them in, may require more than making them feel welcome and creating space for them to talk, but also giving them explicit permission to become actively involved.’
The researchers found that attending scans helped to make their partner’s pregnancy more real for men but ‘it was discovering the gender of their child, and giving him, or her, a name that tended to enable men to feel emotionally connected’.
Attending scans helped to make their partner's pregnancy more real for men
Dr Jonathan Ives, a senior lecturer
at the University of Birmingham, said: ‘Serious consideration needs to be given to how men can be
empowered to become the fathers they want to be.
workers who are involved in this process need to engage with men’s
views on what it is to be a good man, a good partner, and a good father,
and help them achieve an appropriate balance between their own needs
and interests and those of their partner and future children,.
Jason Cole, one of the new fathers who took part in the research, said: ‘I really wanted to know the gender of our first child.
‘My partner wasn’t fussed. She was happy either way but I really wanted to know. I don’t know why.
‘As soon as we found out she was a girl, from about 20 weeks, we named her Molly and I think it did help me prepare for her and connect with her once she was born.’