Pregnancy is a beautiful thing for Dads too.

Seeing the ultrasound images of the baby for the first time is a powerful moment for expectant parents, and provide an opportunity for promoting positive bonding between mommy and daddy. According to a new study. “While all our fathers felt the mothers were receiving good care by a doctor, about half of them felt excluded or ignored and wished that providers would offer them more explanation and opportunity to ask questions during the appointment,’’ Dr. Tova Walsh says (a researcher at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health).

Walsh and colleagues at the University of Michigan interviewed 22 expectant fathers in Michigan in 2010. The fathers ranged in age from 23 to 41 years. Sixteen were married to the mothers and half were expecting their first child.

Researchers interviewed the fathers after they viewed a routine ultrasound that was administered at 16 to 20 weeks into the pregnancy.

They found that the ultrasound experience was an important moment for men, establishing the reality of the coming child, and reassuring them that all was going well with the pregnancy.

It also caused the men to reflect on their roles in the life of mother and child, making it an important practical and psychological preparation for parenthood. The study noted that the men’s “plans and dreams alike extended beyond the immediate future of infancy and across the child’s lifespan.” The researchers found that peer encouragement from other fathers was important in making them choose to be present for the ultrasound. They also learned that the ultrasound experience was as powerful for experienced fathers as for first-time dads. Reactions ranged from quiet excitement to euphoria. Walsh is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. Her study, “Moving up the Magic Moment: Fathers’ Experience of Prenatal Ultrasound,” is being published in the winter 2014 edition of the journal Fathering.


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