Most men now accompany their partner in childbirth but there has been little research into what - if any - psychological impact this might have on them. Researchers from the University of Sheffield and Derbyshire Children's Hospital studied 199 men whose partners had recently given birth. They collected details about the mens' background and psychological state and their partners' pregnancy, labour and delivery within three days of the birth. Six weeks later they filled out another questionnaire measuring their levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression. None of the men reported significant symptoms of all three aspects of PTSD (intrusive thoughts, avoidance and hyper-arousal) although 12% of them reported some of the symptoms of which the most common was hyper-arousal. PTSD symptoms were predicted by a tendency towards anxiety, having fewer children, the pregnancy being unplanned, being present at the actual delivery and feeling less confident about coping, less prepared and more distressed during the process of childbirth. 8% of the men had clinically-significant depression symptoms and 7% had clinically-significant anxiety; both these symptoms were also predicted by a tendency towards anxiety.
Bradley, Rachel, Slade, Pauline and Leviston, Angela - Low rates of PTSD in men attending childbirth: a preliminary study British Journal of Clinical Psychology September 2008, 47(3), 295-302