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Expectant dads could benefit from support, attention

People's focus during a pregnancy is, quite understandably, on the baby and expectant mom - but that doesn't mean we should forget about the needs of the dad. That's the message from University of Missouri researcher ManSoo Yu, PhD, who led a small study examining the emotions of men and women during pregnancy and who contends that leaving men out of prenatal care could be harmful to their family. Healthland reports today:

When confronted with pregnancy-related issues - things like bodily changes and wondering how life will change post-baby — Yu found that men respond in much the same way they do when dealing with financial stressors, while women view them as emotional stressors. "Men are thinking about how they are going to support their new family," says Yu. "They are trying to understand the role of the father and consider how they will parent."

While expectant mothers concentrate on the prenatal period, men tend to focus on the future, fretting about how they're going to afford diapers and child care. It's an important distinction and one that should be pointed out to doctors, nurses, midwives and social workers who take care of pregnant women, says Yu.

Whether or how the psychological well-being of men is associated with better pregnancy outcomes isn't clear, but Yu intends to investigate the association, suggesting that to start men should be more involved in prenatal doctor visits. Practitioners should engage them in caring for their partner during pregnancy and help men prepare for life after baby; men can be offered resources that educate about substance abuse, for example, and help them manage stress and boost their communication skills.

Yu's study appeared in the Journal of Advanced Nursing earlier this spring.

Photo by Spigoo

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