Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : BackgroundGiven the relevance of paternal involvement in maternal care, there is a need to prepare first-time fathers to participate in pregnancy and childbirth actively. This study explores the experiences and needs of first-time fathers; and how these influences their involvement during pregnancy and childbirth in Nigeria.MethodsA descriptive qualitative study was conducted. Semi-structured interviews with 50 men recruited from rural and urban workplaces, hospitals, and markets, generated data used to explore the experiences, views and needs of first-time fathers’ in pregnancy-related care in south-east Nigeria. All data were transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis.ResultsSix major themes were identified: gender roles, antenatal involvement, care costs and delivery choices, need to be informed, dealing with emotions, and dealing with the delivery day. The key finding reveals that inexperience and perceptions of gender roles greatly influenced the support provided by first-time fathers to their spouses and the support they received from their social support networks. Two primary needs were identified: need to be informed and the need to know about the cost of care in health settings. First-time fathers acknowledged the role of information on their decision making and final choices.ConclusionFindings reveal the influence of gender norms, beliefs, and social support on first-time fathers’ involvement in pregnancy and childbirth. This study also highlights the urgent need to provide informational support for first-time fathers and presents insights into what hospitals can do to achieve this need.