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Caroline J Hollins Martin
British Journal of Midwifery, Vol. 16, Iss. 7, 03 Jul 2008, pp 432 - 437

The aim was to develop a scale—the Birth Participation Scale (BPS)—which midwives can use to measure fathers’ attitudes and needs in relation to birth participation. The objectives were to use the BPS to: detect whether fathers genuinely want to be present at the birth; identify localized perceptions and fears fathers may have about birth participation; and ascertain whether being present at the birth was a rewarding experience.
A quantitative survey was carried out with data collected from York District Hospital Maternity Unit (UK).
The participants were a stratified sample of first-time (n= 42) and second-time fathers (n= 36).
Measurements and findings: the BPS was issued at two observation points: prior to birth participation and post birth participation. Difference in scores between conditions assessed the fathers’ attitudes towards birth participation in a positive or negative direction. Scores post birth showed a small shift in attitude in a positive direction for first-time (p= 0.01) and second-time fathers (p= 0.02) with only 4% finding birth partnering more difficult than they had anticipated.
Key conclusions are that midwives are facilitating the majority of fathers towards a positive birth experience. Implications for practice are that the BPS may prove useful for: identifying whether fathers genuinely want to be present at the birth; ascertaining fathers’ personal concerns in relation to birth participation; and tailoring birth preparation to meet fathers individualized needs.

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