Pregnancy through the father’s eyes

Becoming a parent is one of life’s greatest transitions but in a pandemic, it takes a whole other experience as expectant mums and dads navigate the current health and social restrictions.

Now a new University of South Australia (UniSA) and Monash University study is looking to understand how Covid-19 has affected families with the focus particularly exploring fathers’ experiences of pregnancy and birth and how these may have differed from what they expected.

“Last year, due to Covid-19 restrictions, many expectant mothers were required to face doctors’ appointments, scans and even birth alone,” says UniSA’s Dr Ashlee Borgkvist.

“There’s no doubt this has been unnerving and confronting for mums, but the dads have also been affected.

“A father’s experiences of pregnancy can affect how well he can support his partner per and post birth, how well he is able to develop a bond with the new baby, and how successfully he transitions into fatherhood.”

Dr Levita D’Souza from Monash University adds that while the Covid-19 pandemic could have serious repercussions on family relations, understanding what these are, and what we might do to remedy them, is still unknown.

“In our research, we’re hoping to gain an understanding of how Covid-19 has affected fathers, mothers, their relationship, their mental health, and their connection with the new baby,” says Dr D’Souza.

“We’re also keen to find out whether there are any differences between first time dads and dads who had other children prior to the pandemic.

“By speaking to dads across Australia, we hope to identify common themes, and develop some support mechanisms that could help address any gaps or shortfalls we might find.”

The study welcomes all fathers from across Australia who have become dads since March 2019.

To find out more, or to take part in the study, visit: research.monash.edu/en/projects/fathers-experiences-of-pregnancy-and-birth-during-covid-19

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