BACKGROUND: The participation of the father in the birth manifests itself in action, that depends on the attitude towards family-assisted birth and the preferences of the parturient woman.
AIM: Evaluation of expectations of parturient women in the aspect of the active participation of the father, that would enable the use of the most commonly reported preferences in the clinical praxis and the establishment of factors influencing the presented preferences.
METHODS: 250 married couples who participated in natural childbirth were subjected to prospective survey. Couples after physiological delivery with the participation of father in all stages of childbirth were qualified. The surveys were conducted in the first day after the childbirth. The survey tool was an author-developed survey questionnaire in two versions: (A) for the mother and (B) for the child's father who participated in the birth. The statistical calculations were performed with use of the Statistica PL software. The frequency of occurrence of respective quality (non-measurable) features was evaluated with χ² (chi-square) nonparametric test. The level of statistical significance adopted for tests was p<0.05.
RESULTS: The preferences of parturient women, regardless of their age, education, duration of marriage, number of family-assisted births and the form of preparation mostly concerned the adaptation of a supportive role by the fathers, on every stage of the birth. During the second stage of birth 74.4% of parturient women expected the father to cut the umbilical cord. After the birth the majority of mothers (76%) preferred the presence of the father in post-delivery period.
CONCLUSIONS: The pre-birth education of couples of parents should include the expectations of the parturient woman, regarding the forms of father's activity during a family-assisted birth. High expectations of parturient women regarding the emotional support indicate the need for educating future fathers, as there is large demand for such element of mid-delivery care.