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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The expectant father’s experience of high risk pregnancy and antenatal hospitalization Ross, Miguelle E.


Despite increasing interest in the role of the father in pregnancy, birth, and parenthood, little attention has been given to the expectant father's experience of coping with a high risk pregnancy and the hospitalization of his partner. This study was undertaken to further understanding regarding the experience of the expectant father from his own unique perspective. Using the grounded theory method, fathers' experience of the phenomenon of high risk pregnancy and antenatal hospitalization was explored, resulting in a descriptive analysis that conveyed a common conceptualization of the experience. Participants were selected from the tertiary care facility serving the province of British Columbia. Nine fathers participated in the study; they contributed a total of 16 interviews. The fathers' ages ranged from 29 to 40 years. At the time of the first interview, pregnancy gestation ranged from 24 weeks to 35 weeks. Pregnancy complications varied in nature reflective of a high risk population. Central to the fathers' descriptions were the roles they assumed in relation to their participation in the phenomenon. The two predominant roles were providing emotional care to their partner and sustaining the family's functional responsibilities. The primary theme that evolved through analysis was a process of finding a balance between these two roles. A number of factors served to influence the balance, including the support system available to the fathers, high risk condition factors, and geographical circumstance. Specific strategies were identified that contributed to the fathers' ability to cope with the experience. The findings indicated that the experience had a significant personal impact on the fathers, affecting both their emotional and physical wellbeing. Based on the findings of the study, implications for nursing practice, education, and research were identified that promote recognition of the important and unique needs of expectant fathers in high risk pregnancy and antenatal hospitalization.

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