Are male partners of pregnant women treated negatively in maternity care?

Christian Wright, Sadie Geraghty

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


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 and implication for practice: The accommodation of male partners into maternity settings does not always meet their needs, and is at time disempowering through negative attitudes and behaviours. It is important that male partners continue to be recognised as key stakeholders in their partners’ childbirth journey. The inclusion of male partners within maternity care should be advocated for and cultivated by health professionals. Perhaps the targeting of specific needs of male partners would bring a greater benefit overall to women during pregnancy and birth. The knowledge base of health professionals relating to the value and significance of male partners requires investigating, with the possibility of education being provided in this area. This may help to alleviate future negative attitudes and behaviour towards male partners.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventAustralian College of Midwives National Conference - Crown Perth, Burswood, Australia
Duration: 16 Oct 201818 Oct 2018
Conference number: 21st


ConferenceAustralian College of Midwives National Conference
Abbreviated titleACM2018
Internet address


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