Abstract| Volume 26, SUPPLEMENT 1, S27-S28, October 2013

A time of joy or distress: Men's experiences of birth trauma

      Of all life events, the childbirth experience is consistently described as a significant life event of powerful psychological importance in a couples lives. Although birth is a normal physiological process; it can be associated with certain risks to health and in a rare event may pose a threat to survival of the woman and or her infant. Such events have the potential to impact significantly on the physical and emotional health and well-being of the woman, her partner and the family unit. Traumatic birth experiences and the effects on women have been researched by several scholars, however, little is known about the effects traumatic birth experiences can have on men/fathers where their partner has experienced complications or emergency interventions during the labour and birth. The aim of this study is to explore men's experiences of labour and birth where their partners have experienced complications, required emergency intervention and or experienced the birth as traumatic. This study is a qualitative study that will involve men/fathers taking part in a tape-recorded in-depth face-to-face or telephone interviews, or email correspondence. It is envisaged that study findings will be available for presentation during the time of the conference. The findings of this research will add knowledge and provide additional insights to the current body of literature on men's experiences of birth trauma. Findings of this study will help create greater awareness among health professionals; particularly midwives and child and family health nurses of the support needed to men following traumatic birth. Policy development into integrating fathers in the maternity care system and the support required during the postpartum period and early fatherhood period may be warranted. The study findings also aim to direct and inform future research on men's health.
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