#58 Why Fathers Should Attend Prenatal Visits

Prenatal visits are vital, and can provide valuable information about your growing baby’s health. But did you know having fathers attend prenatal visits helps build families? Fathers can assist in preparing their families for the pending major change in the lives for the whole family, including mom and any other children.

“One of my highest priorities as a physician is to build families,” says Dr. Lindemann, “so inviting fathers to prenatal visits helps dads prepare their families’ for a major change in their lives. Observing fathers during prenatal visits also gave me an opportunity to watch and monitor the family dynamics.”

If fathers attend prenatal visits, it helps dad to bond with his wife and the new baby, which creates an excellent springboard for a safe and happy pregnancy and time at home after delivery. A good caretaker is calm and confident in managing the family dynamics. A poor caretaker yells at the children, bribes them to keep quiet, or complains about their behavior. If the mom shows few signs of being a good caretaker but dad does manage the children well, I encouraged the mother to work outside the home and let dad take care of the children instead.

Some fathers are emotionally dependent and see the newborn as competition for mom’s affection. This is a recipe for disaster. These dads can become jealous, indifferent, and seek attention in greener pastures, offering little or no help at home. I invited dads to prenatal visits to observe how much a couple supported each other. A distant and aloof dad who was absent during prenatal visits were all red flags for me.

There are subtle signs of possible development of postpartum depression in both mom and dad. These signs are best seen while observing the family together. That’s why fathers and children attending prenatal visits is so important. For a safe and happy prenatal course, delivery, and time at home after the baby arrives, fathers need to help with taking care of the baby, other children, and household chores.

One of the biggest signs of the likelihood to develop postpartum depression is someone who needs to control everything and has difficulty adjusting to change. With help, overly controlling family members can begin being comfortable with at least some unplanned changes in routine.

With any pregnancy, change is inevitable. Moms and dads need to grieve for the loss of their former selves and consciously choose their new selves as partners, parents, and caretakers.