Health SA Gesondheid (Online)
On-line version ISSN 1025-9848
SENGANE, Malmsey L.M. and NOLTE, Anna G.W.. The expectations of fathers concerning care provided by midwives to the mothers during labour. Health SA Gesondheid (Online) [online]. 2012, vol.17, n.1, pp. 1-10. ISSN 1025-9848.
Midwives have been criticised for neglecting the expectations and needs of fathers. They either ignore the fathers or pressure them into becoming more involved than they would choose, if allowed to provide support to the mothers during labour. Whilst midwives are providing woman-centred care, it is important that they remember to involve the fathers in decision-making and to acknowledge their role, expectations and needs, because the birth of a child is one of the most important events in a person's lifetime. This study focused on fathers' expectations of the care provided to mothers by the midwives during labour. A qualitative, explorative, descriptive and contextual study design was utilised. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with fathers about the care provided to their partners or wives by midwives. Data were then analysed with an open descriptive method of coding that is appropriate for qualitative research. The results of the interviews were subsequently positioned within a holistic health-promotive nursing theory that encompassed body, mind and spirit. The results revealed that fathers saw the provision of comfort and support as the two main aspects for mothers in labour that they expected from midwives. The findings were that midwives should improve their communication skills with the mothers, as well as with the fathers if they are available. Fathers expected midwives to encourage them to accompany the mother during labour and to facilitate bonding between father, mother and baby. The results of this study should assist midwives to provide holistic quality care to mothers and fathers during labour.