Expectant fathers stressed differently

May 13, 2011 at 9:36 PM
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COLUMBIA, Mo., May 13 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say the stress of pregnancy uniquely affects the health of expectant fathers as it does expectant mothers, except in different ways.

Mansoo Yu, assistant professor at University of Missouri's Public Health Program, says the stress related to pregnancy affects the health of expectant fathers, which in turn, influences the health of expectant mothers and their infants.

The study found men process pregnancy-related issues -- such as family change and feeling overwhelmed -- as financial stressors, but women consider these emotional stressors. Men play an important role in supporting and caring for pregnant women, Yu said.

"Too often, men are treated as observers of the pregnancy process," Yu said in a statement. "Acknowledging and addressing the emotional well-being of men as well as women is recommended. Providing prenatal care for expectant fathers can encourage men to have a proactive role in pregnancy, which will allow for better maternal and infant health outcomes."

Men receive more emotional support from their partners, while women received tangible support -- such as help with tasks or care.

"Understanding these differences will help practitioners provide better advice and services for expectant parents," Yu said. "For example, men could write budgets to alleviate financial stress and women could seek counseling to understand emotional stressors."

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