First-Time Fathers: Perceptions of Preparedness for Fatherhood


  • Jeffrey D. Gage
  • Ray Kirk


Little is known about how men prepare to become fathers. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe first-time fathers' perceptions of preparedness for and the transition to parenthood. Nineteen prospective and new fathers participating in 4 focus groups described the unique experiences of men as they prepared to become fathers. A total of 15 themes emerged from the data. The authors discuss themes in the transition to fatherhood _ the reality of the pregnancy; physical, emotional, and financial preparation; and relationships with friends, parents-in-law, and health professionals _ and conclude that the participants actively prepared for fatherhood, attempted to adjust to the perceived expectations of their new role, and sought information on how to be a good father. These results contribute to our understanding of behaviour among new fathers and to the body of research on fathering. Appropriate preparation for fatherhood has the potential to enhance maternal, child, and family health. Keywords: first-time fathers, preparation, parenting