eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
SINCE 1952
Proceeding cover
of the estonian academy of sciences
ISSN 1736-7530 (Electronic)
ISSN 1736-6046 (Print)
Impact Factor (2022): 0.9
Research article
Men’s perceptions of the supportive use of health communication tools during the ante- and postnatal period; pp. 259–266

Hanna-Maria Trei, Kadi Lubi, Barbara Haage

In the contemporary approach to ante- and postnatal care, where men are anticipated to participate more, men themselves also wish to be more included. Even though national health policy presents person-centred care as a central goal, it is not clear if and how it manifests itself for some, as men continue to feel excluded from the ante- and postnatal care process. The aim of this research was to identify the information sources that men in Estonia currently rely upon regarding the ante- and postnatal period in order to both understand the possible areas of development and the potential application of health communication tools to support men in ante- and postnatal care. The research, which was part of a master’s thesis, was a qualitative study conducted with 13 men who were fathers or were about to become fathers. The results indicate that despite the new standards in health policy, there is a lack of targeted support systems to address men’s information needs during the ante- and postnatal period in Estonia – a problem further intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. The current results show that adequate information access requires advanced skills in source criticality, languages, health and digital literacy. The study found that the issue can be resolved through conscious use of health communication tools, which need to be in a person-centred format – easily found, user-friendly and logically structured. A systemic approach needs to be developed to further support men. Health communication strategies can mediate such an approach by being able to accommodate a wider range of skills and preferences.


1. Snowden, J. M., Guise, J.-M. and Kozhimannil, K. B. Promoting inclusive and person-centered care: Starting with birth. Birth, 2018, 45(3), 232–235.

2. Committee on Obstetric Practice. Committee Opinion No. 687: Approaches to limit intervention during labor and birth. Obstet. Gynecol., 2017, 129(2), 20–28.

3. Supporting healthy and normal physiologic childbirth: a consensus statement by the American College of Nurse-Midwives, Midwives Alliance of North America, and the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives. J. Midwifery Women’s Health, 2012, 57(5), 529–532.

4. Jimenez, V., Klein, M. C., Hivon, M. and Mason, C. A mirage of change: family-centered maternity care in practice. Birth, 2010, 37(2), 160–167.

5. Chalmers, B. Overview. In Family-Centred Perinatal Care: Improving Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum Care. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, New York, 2017, 1–14.

6. Public Health Agency of Canada. Family-centred maternity and newborn care in Canada: Underlying philosophy and principles. In Family-Centred Maternity and Newborn Care: National Guidelines, 2017.

7. Daniele, M. A. S. Male partner participation in maternity care and social support for childbearing women: a discussion paper. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. B: Biol. Sci., 2021, 376(1827), 1–9.

8. Panter-Brick, C., Burgess, A., Eggerman, M., McAllister, F., Pruett, K. and Leckman, J. F. Practitioner Review: Engaging fathers – recommendations for a game change in parenting interventions based on a systematic review of the global evidence. J. Child Psychol. Psychiatry, 2014, 55(11), 1187–1212.

9. Darwin, Z., Galdas, P., Hinchliff, S., Littlewood, E., McMillan, D., McGowan, L. et al. Fathers’ views and experiences of their own mental health during pregnancy and the first postnatal year: a qualitative interview study of men participating in the UK Born and Bred in Yorkshire (BaBY) cohort. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth,  2017, 17(45), 1–15.

10. Steen, M., Downe, S., Bamford, N. and Edozien, L. Not-patient and not-visitor: A metasynthesis fathers’ encounters with pregnancy, birth and maternity care. Midwifery, 2012, 28(4), 422–431.

11. Dubeau, D., Villeneuve, R. and Thibault, S. Être présent sur la route des pères engagés. Recension québécoise 2009–2010 des modalités de soutien pour les peres (Being there for involved fathers. 2009–2010 Quebec review of support for fathers). Regroupement pour la Valorisation de la Paternité (RVP), Montreal, QC, 2011 (in French).

12. Gervais, C., de Montigny, F., Lacharité, C. and St-Arneault, K. Where fathers fit in Quebec’s perinatal health care services system and what they need. Psychol. Men Masc., 2016, 17(2), 126–136.

13. Xue, W. L., He, H.-G., Chua, Y. J., Wang, W. and Shorey, S. Factors influencing first-time fathers’ involvement in their wives’ pregnancy and childbirth: A correlational study. Midwifery, 2018, 62, 20–28.

14. Oscarsson, M. G., Medin, E., Holmström, I. and Lendahls, L. Using the Internet as source of information during pregnancy – a descriptive cross-sectional study among fathers-to-be in Sweden. Midwifery, 2018, 62, 146–150.

15. Bradfield, Z., Wynter, K., Hauck, Y., Vasilevski, V., Kuliukas, L., Wilson, A. N. et al. Experiences of receiving and providing maternity care during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia: A five-cohort cross-sectional com­parison. PLoS ONE, 2021, 16(3), 1–15.

16. Sotsiaalministeerium. Rahvastiku tervise arengukava 2020–2030 (National Health Plan 2020–2030). (in Estonian) (accessed 2022-05-07). 

17. Moreira, L. OECD Health Working Paper No. 107: Health Literacy for People-Centred Care. (accessed 2022- 04-28).

18. Starr, M. A. Qualitative and mixed-methods research in economics: Surprising growth, promising future. J. Econ. Surv., 2014, 28(2), 238–264.

19. Xue, W. L., Shorey, S., Wang, W. and He, H.-G. Fathers’ involvement during pregnancy and childbirth: An integrative literature review. Midwifery, 2018, 62, 135–145.

20. Mooney, A. and Fernandez, J. Millennial dads turn to digital in their moments of need. (accessed 2022-02-27).

21. Jeffery, T., Luo, K.-Y., Kueh, B., Petersen, R. W. and Quinlivan, J. A. Australian fathers’ study: What influences paternal engagement with antenatal care? J. Perinat. Educ., 2015, 24(3), 181–187.

22. Alio, A. Rationale and strategies for engaging fathers in maternal and infant health programs: a summary of prom­ising practices. Report 2017. documents/Engaging-Fathers_FINAL_Updated-06_27_2017.pdf(accessed 2022-02-13).

Back to Issue