Fathers who know the sex of their unborn child and give him or her a name find it easier to bond with their baby.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham looked at men’s experiences of, and feelings about, becoming a father.
They found that knowing the sex allowed men to think of the unborn child as a person they could father, and someone who they could develop a relationship with.
The researchers followed 11 men over a period of nine months, from the first scan to eight weeks after the birth of their child. The ages of participants ranged from 22 to 58.
They mapped the men’s journeys from the discovery of pregnancy to the early days of fatherhood in an attempt to discover how to make men feel involved in pregnancy and parenthood.
The study found that some men’s understanding of what it means to be a good man could act as a barrier to being drawn into antenatal or postnatal care.
However, the researchers believe that this ‘manly’ attitude to childcare does not necessarily mean that the father-to-be lacks commitment to fatherhood.
They believe that these men just need help working out how they can be involved in the pregnancy while still retaining their self-image.