Original Article

Journal of Perinatology (2013) 33, 65–69; doi:10.1038/jp.2012.32; published online 29 March 2012

Pilot study of experiences and needs of 111 fathers of very low birth weight infants in a neonatal intensive care unit

L Garten1, L Nazary1, B Metze1 and C Bührer1

1Department of Neonatology, Charité University Medical Center, Berlin, Germany

Correspondence: Dr L Garten, Klinik für Neonatologie, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1, Berlin D-13353, Germany. E-mail: lars.garten@charite.de

Received 12 August 2011; Revised 22 February 2012; Accepted 23 February 2012
Advance online publication 29 March 2012





To study the experiences and needs of the fathers of very low birth weight (VLBW, <1500g) infants in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Study Design:


An anonymous self-report questionnaire was administered to fathers of VLBW infants born between Jan 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009 at two tertiary NICUs.



A total of 111 of 273 fathers responded to the questionnaire. Responses to a variety of items, including self-perception, parenting attitudes, confidence, emotional pressure to satisfaction and self-efficacy as a parent were similar for the fathers of this survey and previous results for mothers of VLBW infants. Fathers judged direct bedside support by the NICU team as sufficient. However, 54.4% of fathers reported missing nonbedside interventions such as VLBW father-specific baby care courses, seminars or workshops, and platforms or chatrooms on the internet.



Bedside support of fathers, accomplished by the NICU team, could be complemented by additional father-specific non-bedside support, such as peer-education measures or interactive mass media.


preterm infant; VLBW; parenting role; intervention initiative; NICU