Following a survey of 92 fathers in Sweden about how they use the internet to get information during pregnancy, researchers have recommended that health services should host their own credible and evidence-based on-line information services. These already exist but are directed at mothers only. Services for fathers are needed.
76% of the fathers in the survey sought information on-line. Of these, one did it daily, 41% did it weekly and 58% did it monthly or less. First-time fathers-to-be and men who attended more antenatal clinics were likely to use the internet more.
25% of those who used the internet used it to talk anonymously about sensitive topics.
Only 33% of the fathers had been recommended an on-line source of information by their midwife. 62% said they had found something on-line that had worried them.
The researchers recommend that midwives need to be well informed about on-line sources, so that they can engage effectively with prospective parents who arrive at appointments informed by multiple on-line sources of variable quality. Midwives should be able to recommend good on-line sources of information.
The researchers go further: ideally the healthcare system should publish its own sources of credible and evidence-based information targeted at fathers.
The study used a questionnaire designed for use with women and so did not explore issues that men themselves identified as important. Other research has shown, for example, that prospective fathers want to know about the experience of other men in the same situation.
Oscarsson MG, Holmstrom I, Medin E & Lendahls L (2018), Using the internet as source of information during pregnancy – a descriptive cross-sectional study among fathers-to-be in Sweden, Midwifery 62