Over 90% of postnatal educational interventions reported in low and middle-income countries exclude fathers

exclude fathers

A review of studies of postnatal education interventions in low and middle-income countries has found 77 reports, 91% of which describe interventions that exclude fathers and other carers. The seven that describe father-inclusive interventions are two from Iran (both 2014, relating to parenting in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)), two from Turkey (2008,  and 2013 also related to newborn care at home), two from China (both 2016, one related to parenting in the NICU, one about breastfeeding promotion) and one from Brazil (2008, about breastfeeding promotion).

The researchers comment on this exclusion and call for a new approach. “By including fathers and other family members in postnatal educational interventions, it could increase knowledge and disperse the caregiver burden across family members. Given the predominant focus on biological mothers in parent-targeted postnatal intervention, acknowledgement of the ongoing gender-based exclusion of fathers/males, their potential role in improving health outcomes of newborns, and that the involvement of males in the care of newborns is still not socially accepted or widely adopted, further consideration is needed. As a future suggestion, there is a need for more sex- and gender-based analysis in such interventions and in future reviews.”

(Editorial note: For more on the topic of exclusion of fathers from parenting programmes see Parenting programs sideline fathers with long-term costs for families and children.)


Dol J, Campbell-Yeo M, Murphy GT, Aston M, McMillan D, Gahagan J & Richardson Brianna (2019), Parent-targeted postnatal educational interventions in low and middle-income countries: A scoping review and critical analysis, International Journal of Nursing Studies 94

Photo: DFID. Creative Commons.