Are male partners of pregnant women treated negatively in maternity care?
British Journal of Midwifery
MA Healthcare Ltd
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Background There has been a significant cultural shift in attitudes towards male partners' involvement in maternity care, resulting in a cultural acceptance that male partners should be involved throughout pregnancy and birth. Anecdotal evidence, however, shows that male partners may still experience negative attitudes from obstetric and midwifery professionals. Aim To explore midwifery students' experiences of negative attitudes or behaviour directed toward male partners by women, midwives, and/or doctors during antenatal and intrapartum care. Methods An open online anonymous survey was used to collect data from 21 midwifery students. Findings Two main themes were revealed: observed negative behaviours, and behaviour reasoning. Each theme contained several sub-themes, namely aggression, exclusion, and condescension (observed negative behaviours), and excusable by pain, preoccupied, misplaced support and respectful inclusion (behaviour reasoning). Conclusions The accommodation of male partners into maternity settings does not always meet their needs, and is at time disempowering through negative attitudes and behaviours.