Behavioral interaction of fathers with infants and mothers in the immediate postpartum period

Patricia Short Tomlinson, Marilyn A. Rothenberg, Linda D. Carver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This study describes paternal behaviors of first-time fathers with their partner and new-born immediately after birth and identifies a progression of behaviors with the infant within the first 15 minutes after birth. Videotapes were made of 24 first-time fathers observed at birth in a traditional delivery room setting. Utilizing an ethological approach to define behavioral codes, episodes of paternal behavior were measured with time interval sampling. Using a modified frequency method, behaviors were identified in four main categories: proximity, gaze, touch, and movement. The analysis showed that proximity and gaze were high-frequency behaviors and touch and movement were low-frequency behaviors. A progression of behaviors was identified, with gaze starting out high and diminishing, proximity and movement increasing over time, and touch remaining low but constant. Limitations of the setting and implications for clinical practice and research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-239
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nurse-Midwifery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991


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