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Sapkota et al. (2012) – Husbands’ Experiences of Supporting Their Wives during Childbirth in Nepal


Background: The husband’s presence at childbirth is universally accepted in industrialised nations, but the concept is still new within the cultural values and norms of Nepalese society. Understanding the cultural context surrounding the feelings and needs of Nepalese husbands will help to initiate realistic maternity education programmes.

Objective: To explore husbands’ experiences of supporting their wives during childbirth.

Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted, and the data were analysed using thematic analysis.

Setting: The Maternity and Neonatal Service Centre, a midwife-run birthing centre within a public maternity hospital in the capital of Nepal.

Participants:: Twelve first-time expectant Nepalese fathers who had supported their wives during childbirth were interviewed in July 2009, within seven days of the birth.

Findings: Six themes were identified to explain the mixed experiences of the husbands in the labour or delivery room: (1) being positive towards attendance; (2) hesitation; (3) poor emotional reactions; (4) being able to support; (5) the need to be mentally prepared and (6) enlightenment. Husbands reflected on their experiences positively, despite profound hesitation and overwhelming emotions.

Conclusions: The husbands’ experiences revealed that Nepalese husbands tend to experience overwhelming emotional feelings in the labour or delivery room if they are allowed to attend the birth without prior preparation.

Implications for practice: Counselling for couples and education from the start of the pregnancy may reduce negative emotional experiences and improve satisfaction with the childbirth experience for both husbands and wives.


Sapkota, Sabitri, Toshio Kobayashi, and Miyuki Takase2012. “Husbands’ Experiences of Supporting Their Wives during Childbirth in Nepal.” Midwifery 28(1):45–51. doi:10.1016/j.midw.2010.10.010.




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