Background: Little research has been carried out with regards to the inclusion of men during the birth process. The objective of this paper involves exploring the needs and expectations of the health services manifested by a group of fathers as a result of their experience during the birth process.
Methods: Qualitative research was carried out in Granada in 2004 via individual interviews with fathers who showed shared responsibility in the upbringing. The profile is: employment, medium-high educational level, one or more child: 0-6 months of age. The transcript was subsequently submitted to hermeneutic analysis.
Results: Some semantic constructs are: 1) Health Services do not concede the women as protagonists, 2) Birth process is depending on the body. Fathers can only support and fight for the relevance of men, 3) Men seem like "invisible", 4) Health services inhibit their participation, and 5) have dealings with fathers according to their gender roles. The participants address the relationship between expectations of care during the birth process and unsatisfied demands, and the manner in which they employ the obstacles encountered within health services that inhibit their participation as arguments that confirm their separation from the process.
Conclusions: This paper draws attention to the limited scope of the provision of healthcare during the birth process in terms of protagonism afforded to fathers. Indeed, despite their requisitory discourse, the interviewees manifest contradictory attitudes in the face of changes that require them to make commitments. We identify elements that could be improved to adapt services to the needs of fathers and vice versa.