Otago Polytechnic

How do fathers bond with their babies during pregnancy?

It makes a huge difference to a child if his or her father is involved in the child's life in the first three years, fostering secure attachments and reducing the likelihood of child abuse. So it's incredibly important to children that their fathers bond with them well and early.

Tricia Thompson has been working with the Great Fathers Trust Board to investigate fathers' connection with their babies even before they are born. She interviewed ten men who had recently become fathers for the first time or were about to become fathers. At what stage of pregnancy do fathers connect with their baby and how? Tricia found that the scan was an important stage for the men, and the movement of the baby in the womb was also important. 

Midwives are in a position to help fathers connect with their yet-to-be-born babies, and make them to feel included. Tricia's research is helping to identify the best times during pregnancy to give information to fathers, and also what information to give them. For example fathers can be encouraged to talk to their babies once they've reached the stage of development when they can recognise and respond to voices. 

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HEALTH & WELLBEING

March 2017