Childbirth as a traumatic event for attendant fathers

Anna Golubitsky, Carolyn Weiniger, Yaron Sela, Daniella Mouadeb, Sara Freedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Negative reactions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following childbirth have been increasingly reported in mothers, particularly following objectively and subjectively difficult childbirth experiences. A small body of research has examined fathers’ reactions to childbirth, with mixed results. Objective: The study aimed to further these studies, investigating whether objective and subjective aspects of fathers’ participation in childbirth were related to levels of PTSD and fear of childbirth symptoms, in the first year following childbirth. Method: In total, 224 fathers whose partners had given birth within the previous 12 months answered online questionnaires that examined participation in childbirth, subjective appraisals, levels of fear of childbirth, and PTSD symptoms. Data were analysed using structural equation modelling, examining both direct and indirect effects. Results: Approximately 6% of fathers reported symptoms consistent with probable PTSD. Negative cognitions mediated the path between an emergency caesarean and PTSD. Fear of childbirth was related to emergency caesareans and lack of information from the medical team. Conclusions: Future studies should examine the level of fathers’ participation, their subjective appraisal of childbirth, and fear of childbirth, when assessing fathers’ reactions to childbirth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2338671
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychotraumatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Childbirth
  • cognitions
  • fathers
  • fear of childbirth
  • PTSD


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