A Qualitative Analysis of Fathers' Experiences During Labor and Delivery in Three Settings: Hospitals, Birthing Centers, and Homebirths

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Capstone Project

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Laura Meyer

Second Advisor

Mark Aoyagi

Third Advisor

Erin Jacklin


This qualitative study aimed to capture the experiences of fathers’ experiences during labor and delivery in three different birth settings: hospitals, birth centers, and homebirths. Six first-time fathers participated in semi-structured interviews and data were analyzed utilizing a directed approach to content analysis. The analysis revealed three themes: Experience of Birth Setting, Being a Support, and Impact on Relationship. This study found that supportive providers were instrumental in offering guidance and that fathers reported positive experiences while supporting their partners through labor and delivery. Consistent with the literature, fathers discussed difficulty in being supportive in all three settings. However, this study found that the challenges of being a support to their partners increased their trust in their roles, their desire to be engaged in providing support, and their confidence. Additionally, the act of witnessing their partners’ pain increased their admiration for her. The study also revealed how feelings of helplessness and powerlessness differed between birth settings, e.g., fathers in the non-hospital birth settings reported that the birth experience influenced their relationship with their partners and described a shift in their perception of their partner, which was not reported by fathers in the hospital settings.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


39 pages

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