An Australian perspective of fatherhood and sexuality



Publication Details

Williamson, MJ, McVeigh, C and Baafi, M, An Australian perspective of fatherhood and sexuality, Midwifery, 24(1), 2008, 99-107.


Objective to describe and explore the effect that pregnancy, childbirth and adjustment to a new baby have on the sexual relationship of fathers. Design a content analysis, using a qualitative approach, was undertaken on the written comments provided by fathers on a 6-week postpartum postal survey. The survey was undertaken to provide information relating to fathers¿ adaptation to fatherhood. The father's functional status was measured using, the Inventory of Functional Status-fathers (IFS-F) Tool. Setting a regional location within New South Wales, Australia. Participants (fathers) were recruited through postnatal services within hospital and community settings. Participants volunteer study participants consisting of 204 fathers were sent a questionnaire at 6 weeks postpartum. The questionnaire was returned by 128 study participants (fathers). The participants were men experiencing fatherhood for the first time or who were adding to their existing families. Findings comments by the study participants revealed that sexual relationships during pregnancy and the postnatal period undergo a variety of changes that may affect the couple's relationship. Key conclusions and implications for practice it is important for health-care professionals, particularly midwives, to recognise that variance in sexual activity during the childbearing period does occur, and that there is a need for the midwife to be open to individual discussion of sexual activity with the woman and her partner during pregnancy and postnatal periods. Holistic care of women and their partners in the childbearing period requires health professionals to effectively communicate current information and education on sexuality.

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