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Postpartum experiences of first-time fathers in a Tanzanian suburb: A qualitative interview study
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health. (Internationell kvinno- och mödrahälsovård/Essén)
Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Division of Reprductive and Perinatal Health Care, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health. (Internationell kvinno- och mödrahälsovård/Essén)
2010 (English)In: Midwifery, ISSN 0266-6138, E-ISSN 1532-3099, Vol. 27, no 2, 174-180 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

OBJECTIVES: to explore postpartum experiences of first-time fathers in a multicultural, low-income, suburban Tanzanian setting. DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: individual qualitative interviews with ten first-time fathers, four to ten weeks post partum in Ilala suburb, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. FINDINGS: these first-time fathers enjoyed fatherhood and revealed a sincere concern for the well-being of the mother and infant during the postpartum period. They described themselves as active in mother and infant care and household chores; however, they were limited by breadwinning responsibilities. The families were supported by relatives or laypersons. The mothers' and infants' nutrition had high priority but poverty was an obstacle. Timing of resumption of sex after childbirth was problematic as traditions prescribed abstinence while the woman is breast feeding. The risk of contracting HIV to the family was a concern. Reproductive and child health care often excluded fathers and gave unclear information. CONCLUSION: these new fathers struggled to gain confidence and experience while engaging in family matters during post partum. Changing gender roles in the suburban Tanzanian society in general and their personal experiences of transition to fatherhood both facilitated and made the postpartum period problematic. The health sector does not respond with respect to fathers' concerns for family health and needs for support. RECOMMENDATIONS: these findings call for programmes on gender relations, which are supporting constructive masculinities and facilitate new fathers' active participation and responsibilities in parenting, family health and their relations with their partners. Such programmes should not only target people in childbearing age but also their potential support persons. Health workers should welcome fathers and discuss strategies for good family health during post partum. Counselling couples together could facilitate their support for each other in optimising health post partum.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 27, no 2, 174-180 p.
Keyword [en]
Post partum, Fathers, Experiences, Qualitative, Interviews, Tanzania
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-129615DOI: 10.1016/j.midw.2009.03.002ISI: 000289071200011PubMedID: 20385433OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-129615DiVA: diva2:344524
Available from: 2010-08-19 Created: 2010-08-19 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Striving to Promote Family Health after Childbirth: Studies in Low-Income Suburbs of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Striving to Promote Family Health after Childbirth: Studies in Low-Income Suburbs of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Deeper understanding of family health and support after childbirth from the perspective of first-time parents and their informal support network is needed. Postpartum experiences and health concerns of first-time mothers and fathers and, discourses on sexuality and informal support after childbirth were explored in low-income, suburban areas in Ilala, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Individual qualitative interviews with first-time mothers (n=10) and fathers (n=10), and 14 focus group discussions with first-time parents (n=40) and informal support persons (n=42) provided the data, which were analyzed through qualitative content and discourse analysis.

First-time parents’ areas of concern were newborn care and hygiene, infant feeding, handling crying infant, maternal nutrition and hygiene, uncertain body changes for the mother and, sexuality. The mothers were burdened with caring responsibilities and fathers felt neglected and excluded from the care of the mother and infant after childbirth, both by the families and the health care system. Sexuality after childbirth created tension between new parents due to the understanding that abstinence would protect child health during the breastfeeding period, which could be several years. Women’s adherence to sexual abstinence was more emphasized compared to men’s. Men’s engagement with other sex partners and the risk of contraction HIV was a threat to family health.

First-time parents drew on support from both informal and formal sources. Informal support networks played a major role in providing information, materials, guidance and supervision while conveying stereotypic gender norms. Contradictions in the messages to parents within and between the support systems created uncertainties that might have negative implications for family health. Poor parents and those who did not adherence to the social norms were less likely to get informal support than others were.

There is a need for information and practical guidance on basic aspects of care for the mother and infant, male involvement, and the importance of social support to first-time parents, as new parents face physical, social and relational challenges after childbirth. The link between the health care system and informal networks need to be strengthened to enable them to complement each other in promoting family health after child health.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Uppsala University, 2011. 54 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 668
Keyword
First-time parents, postpartum, Health promotion, sexuality, informal support, qualitative, suburban Tanzania
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-150924 (URN)978-91-554-8065-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-05-24, Rosénsalen, Akademiska sjukhuset, ing 95/96, Uppsala, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-05-03 Created: 2011-04-07 Last updated: 2011-07-01Bibliographically approved

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