1Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars Program, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA2School of Social Work, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA3Intermountain Health Care, Salt Lake City, UT, USA4Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Education Innovation Institute, Georgia Regents University, Augusta, GA, USA5Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Spectrum Health Medical Group and College of Human Medicine Michigan State University, Grand Rapids, MI, USA6Department of Emergency Medicine and Department of Family Medicine, University of Michigan Injury Center, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
Expectant fathers in the U.S. frequently accompany their partner to a prenatal ultrasound, yet little is known about how fathers experience ultrasound attendance. This is an important knowledge gap because studies have shown strong and consistent associations between a father's prenatal and postnatal involvement, and efforts to actively engage fathers at ultrasound may have longitudinal impact. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 22 fathers after ultrasound, analyzed data using principles of grounded theory, and built a conceptual model of how fathers experience ultrasound. Results suggest that ultrasound attendance contributes to paternal feelings of connection to the unborn baby and motivation to change behavior. Ultrasound appointments may offer an opportunity to engage men to promote positive partnering and parenting across the lifespan.