Transition to Parenthood: Nursing Intervention to Promote Paternal Competences
This paper intends to disclose the role nurses play in the inclusion of the father in the pre- and postnatal care, promoting the parental competences, starting with the desire to conceive a child until the first 3 months of the baby’s life. In order to accomplish this, it is necessary to acquire competences of knowledge about the subject, identify the father’s intervention needs and and acknowledge the importance of positive parenthood and the conjugal relationship to the healthy development of the child. Two approaches were employed in the study: a systematic review of literature and, in clinical practice, the observation of nursing interventions in the nursing consultation of pregnancy, childbirth, and puerperium. The transitions theory, by Afaf Meleis, was used as a nursing reference due to the research being centered on the transition to parenthood. The central concepts were family, parenthood, positive parenthood, conjugality, paternity, parental competences, parental partnership, and conjugal parenthood. The paper was concluded through data collection and processing. The data were collected from databases, books, master theses, and scholarly journals. The collection was based on the following criteria: the principal subject was the parental competences; studies published in the last 15 years in Portuguese, English, and Spanish; matching the keywords. In the data processing phase, the most adequate data were selected and then interpreted according to the referenced authors. In conclusion, the father’s role in pre- and postnatal care still needs further research and a critical and reflective analysis from nursing professionals so that fathers can be included and their parental competences can be promoted. It is also important to develop programs of promotion and preparation for parenthood in each country. Regarding the preparation for parenthood and the promotion of parental competences, the literature still tends to highlight the maternal role, their needs and concerns, rather than the paternal responsibility. The same happens in clinical practice since health professionals, particularly nurses, continue to focus their intervention on the mother-child dyad, not providing moments allowing the inclusion of the father. Despite the existence of programs of promotion and preparation for parenthood in some countries, none have been designed by by nurses, and when the implementation of some of these programs in clinical practice was examined, it was found that the action that favors the mother as the main focus of care, promoting only one part of the parenthood subsystems, i.e., the motherhood, perpetuates in practice.
Correspondence to T. Ramalhal Lisbon School of Nursing, Av. D. João II, lote 4.69-01, Parque das Nações, 1990-096 Lisboa, Portugal. firstname.lastname@example.org