The impact of maternal nausea and vomiting in pregnancy on expectant fathers: Findings from the Australian Fathers’ Study
Taylor & Francis Group
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Introduction: Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NVP) are common. Whilst the impact on pregnant women has been well documented, there is less data on the impact on partners. This study evaluated awareness and impact of maternal NVP on expectant fathers.
Methods: Observational study of 300 expectant fathers. Institutional ethics approval and consent were obtained. Fathers were recruited from antenatal clinics and community settings. Researchers administered demographic, attitudinal and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale questionnaires during the third trimester. Expectant fathers were asked if their partner experienced NVP. If aware, they were asked to comment upon the impact on their lives.
Results: Participants were similar in demographics to those of the wider Australian community of expectant fathers. Most fathers were aware whether their partner experienced NVP (82%). Of these fathers, 20% reported no NVP, and 30%, 37% and 13% men reported maternal NVP was mild, moderate and severe, respectively. There was no correlation between paternal depression and maternal NVP, but a significant association was found between moderate and severe maternal NVP and paternal anxiety. In qualitative comments, five themes emerged: disruption on work, feelings of frustration and helplessness, concern over depression in their partner, concern for the developing baby and a sense of being manipulated in the third trimester of pregnancy.
Discussion: Most expectant fathers are aware of NVP in their partner. Moderate and severe maternal NVP are associated with significantly higher symptoms of paternal anxiety.