Social support is important during pregnancy and childbirth and the partner is usually the main source of support. Lack of partner support is associated with less emotional well-being and discontinuation of breastfeeding.
The purpose of the study was to investigate the proportion of women dissatisfied with partner support in early pregnancy, and to identify risk factors associated with dissatisfaction through a follow up 2 months and 1 year after childbirth.
Participants and methods
A national cohort of 2430 Swedish speaking women recruited in early pregnancy and followed up 2 months and 1 year postpartum. Data were collected by means of three postal questionnaires.
Five percent of women were dissatisfied with partner support in early pregnancy. Women dissatisfied with partner support were more likely to be multiparas, not living with their partner in early pregnancy and to report unfavorable timing of pregnancy. They experienced more physical symptoms, and less emotional well-being in terms of more depressive symptoms, more major worries and a lower sense of coherence. One year after childbirth a higher rate of divorces and disappointment with the partner's participation in childcare and household chores and understanding from partner was found in women being dissatisfied in early pregnancy.
Discussion and conclusions
This study shows that it might be possible to identify women who are lacking partner support already in early pregnancy. Women's social network and their support from partner should be investigated by health care providers and women in need of additional support should be refereed to available community resources.
2008. Vol. 21, no 4, 141-148 p.