First-time fathers would like to receive better preparation for fatherhood

In September 2019 researchers from the UK published the results of their study to develop an understanding of men’s experiences of first-time fatherhood, their mental health and wellbeing needs. Information was collected via semi-structured interviews from 21 first-time fathers (aged 20 to over 60 years) with children under 12 months of age. Ten of these men described their ethnic background as Indian, seven as White British, one as Spanish, one as Black African, one as Black Caribbean and one as Pakistani. Results were broadly similar amongst all new fathers, irrespective of whether the father was living with their partner and baby or not, and whether English was the new father’s first language or was some other language. Nine major categories were identified: (1) preparation for fatherhood, (2) rollercoaster of feelings, (3) new identity, (4) challenges and impact, (5) changed relationship: we’re in a different place, (6) coping and support, (7) health professionals and services: experience, provision and support, (8) barriers to accessing support, and (9) men’s perceived needs: what fathers want.

Baldwin S et al. A qualitative exploratory study of UK first-time fathers’ experiences, mental health and wellbeing needs during their transition to fatherhood. BMJ Open. 2019 Sep 13;9(9):e030792.

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