Seeing the first ultrasound images of their unborn offspring can be a “magic moment” for fathers-to-be as well as their partners. Involving fathers in the first ultrasound viewing can be a powerful tool for family bonding and promoting good parenting and partnering skills.
Tova Walsh, PhD, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and the lead author of the study, said about half of the fathers in the study “felt excluded or ignored and wished that providers would offer them more explanation and opportunity to ask questions during the appointment.” Dr. Walsh added:
Because so much previous research shows that mothers and babies benefit when fathers are positively involved and supportive during pregnancy, they should feel welcome at an event that is their first interaction with the health care of the mother and baby.
Dr. Walsh was quoted in a news release from the med school.
She and her fellow researchers interviewed 22 fathers-to-be in Michigan in 2010 after the dads had viewed a routine ultrasound 16 to 20 weeks into the pregnancy. The subjects ranged in age from 23 to 41. For half, it was their first child. Sixteen were married to the mothers.
The experience led a lot of the fathers to focus sharply on the future. Said one, “I need to make sure I have a steady job because my child eating depends on me. If I don’t work, he don’t eat. And I’d rather my child eat before I do.”
Another dreamed a little: “Now that we know that it’s a girl, you know, now I’m thinking about … walking her down the aisle someday.”
And one father seemed overwhelmed:
My heart started beating faster just to hear a life—boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. It just felt like—the feeling’s indescribable. I was just blown away, like my eyes filled up but it’s like I won’t cry. I just be so happy to hear it.
Related CME seminar (up to 14.5 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™): Advances in Fetal and Neonatal Imaging