May 12, 2015, by Michael Jennings

Men, masculinity and early labour – can you help?

Dr Julie Roberts, Research Fellow in Maternity Care and lead of ‘Men, masculinity and early labour’, discusses the aims of the research and what you can do to help.

Men, masculinity and early labour is a research project exploring fathers’ experiences of being with their partner during labour and birth, with a focus on ‘early labour’.

What is early labour?

I am particularly interested in those first hours when signs of labour begin until a woman is admitted to hospital or a birth centre. Women are usually advised to stay at home as long as possible, and so fathers are an important source of support.

Why research fathers’ experiences?

Fathers often support their partners during labour and yet there is little research so far about their experiences. Existing research has found that early labour can be a difficult time for women, who must manage their pain at home and decide when to travel to the hospital or birth centre. We want to understand more about men’s role at this time.

It is hoped that the research will raise awareness about men’s experiences during labour and inform ways to better prepare fathers and support them in their role.

Can you help?

As part of the research, we are talking to fathers about what it was like being with their partner during labour. We would love to hear from you if:

  • you are over 18 years of age
  • your youngest child is 12 months old or younger
  • you were with your partner during the first hours of labour
  • labour started spontaneously (not induced)
  • your baby was born in a hospital or midwife-led unit (not a planned home birth)

Interviews will last around an hour and take place somewhere convenient for you. You will be reimbursed with a £10 shopping voucher for your time. Our questions will ask about your part in making plans for the birth, the day your partner went into labour, and how you see the role of fathers in labour.

To find out more and take part, visit the study website.

This research is funded by a small grant from the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust. You can follow the project on Twitter @MenEarlyLabour

Posted in life sciencesresearch