The birth of a father: A film tool developed in Switzerland for perinatal support
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School of Health Sciences, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland, Lausanne, Switzerland
MenCare Program, Umbrella Organisation of Men's and Father's Organisation, Burgdorf, Switzerland
Publication date: 2023-10-24
Corresponding author
Yvonne Meyer   

School of Health Sciences, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland, Lausanne, Switzerland
Eur J Midwifery 2023;7(Supplement 1):A173
The literature is unanimous that the positive involvement of men in the perinatal period improves the health of all family members. However stress and anxiety, fostered by a lack of information and a sense of exclusion within health care facilities are among the main adjustment problem experienced by fathers. As a result, there is a lack of prevention and 10% of fathers can experience postpartum depression. In response, a documentary film was produced with the aim to open up a dialogue and capture the emotions and experiences of fathers that are often overlooked.

Material and Methods:
The first stage of the project consisted in giving the floor to 18 men who had become fathers and 14 health professionals in French-speaking Switzerland. The second stage of the project was to subtitle the film in English, German, Italian and French to be shown in Switzerland and abroad. The film was intended to be used as a tool in public or professional meetings to raise awareness of the specificity of the transition to fatherhood and measures to include fathers.

The film was constructed in five episodes of 12 minutes each: (1) Nine months to become a father, (2) The father at childbirth, (3) The father’s first steps in family life, (4) the fathers seen by professionals, (5) Fathers’ visions on fatherhood and parenting. Episodes were shown in several “face-to-face” meetings (cinemas, associations, institutions). During the lock-down due to the COVID pandemic the meetings were transformed in webinars. Reactions aroused by the film focused on the loss of bearings during pregnancy and childbirth, the first contacts with the child, the weight of new responsibility, the sexuality that will no longer be like before. So many entry points for exchanges and for considering how to improve the involvement of fathers in care. Furthermore, since being posted for free access on YouTube, the film has generated 59000 views, all episodes and languages combined.

The great resonance to films is very heartening. Experiences around the film The Birth of a Father show the power of testimonies and how they can be used as a vehicle for discussion and for improving the well-being and health of the whole family.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
The Research funding on pregnancy, childbirth, child development, and parenthood (5 October 2017) and the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland (14.017) financed the production of the film. Health Promotion Switzerland financed the implementation of health promotion activities based on the film (PF05.021).
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