Purpose: To explore fathers’ experiences of pregnancy after a prior perinatal loss.
Study Design and Methods: This phenomenological study used unstructured, in-depth interviews with four men whose wives were currently pregnant subsequent to previous perinatal loss in the second or third trimester.
Results: Regardless of the timing of the loss or their investment in the previous pregnancy, fathers expressed anxiety about the outcome of the subsequent pregnancy, a heightened sense of risk, and a need for increased vigilance. Themes concerning the intensity of the loss experience, dealing with grief, spirituality, supporting their spouse, influence of the previous loss, replacement of the loss, the importance of milestones, and change in world view were described.
Clinical Implications: This study can provide insight for nurses into the needs of these families during a subsequent pregnancy and can help nurses to better support fathers during this critical time.
Deborah Armstrong is a Doctoral Candidate, College of Nursing, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. She can be reached at University of Louisville, School of Nursing, Louisville, KY 40292; e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org