Father absence at delivery at Pelonomi Tertiary Hospital in Bloemfontein: Reasons and associated demographic characteristics

Main Article Content

J J van Rooyen
L de Jager
S du Plessis
J Goldberg
J Salvage
S Sipika
G Joubert


Background. The presence of fathers during the birth of their babies has been recognised as beneficial for both the mother and the baby. Objective. To investigate the reasons and demographic factors associated with father absence at delivery.

Methods. We conducted a quantitative, cross-sectional study. Anonymous questionnaires were completed by mothers admitted to the postnatal ward at Pelonomi Tertiary Hospital in Bloemfontein, South Africa, after a live birth. Mothers answered questions regarding mother and father characteristics (age, employment, residence), whether the father was present or absent at delivery and the reasons for his absence.

Results. The highest percentage (30.7%) of the 137 participating mothers was in the age range 20 - 25 years. More than half (56.2%) resided in Bloemfontein/Mangaung, and 70.6% were unemployed. Most mothers (68.4%) were multiparous. In total, 81.0% of fathers were absent at delivery, although 50.0% had planned to be at the delivery. The main reason for their absence was employment (52.7%), which can be substantiated by the fact that most fathers (80.3%) were employed. For more than half (58.1%) of the deliveries, neither the father nor any other person (family member or friend) was present at the delivery. There was no association between maternal or paternal demographics and father absence at delivery.

Conclusion. Father absence was common. Community-based programmes must encourage father involvement in all spheres of their children’s lives and create awareness of the impact that their presence during birth can have.

Article Details

How to Cite
Father absence at delivery at Pelonomi Tertiary Hospital in Bloemfontein: Reasons and associated demographic characteristics. (2024). South African Journal of Child Health, 18(1), e1990. https://doi.org/10.7196/

How to Cite

Father absence at delivery at Pelonomi Tertiary Hospital in Bloemfontein: Reasons and associated demographic characteristics. (2024). South African Journal of Child Health, 18(1), e1990. https://doi.org/10.7196/


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