A recent study has found that men are increasingly playing a more important role in the process of pregnancy and childbirth. In fact, in the last five years, pediatric consultations by men have grown by 40 per cent, a study by Practo has revealed, with Bengaluru topping the chart.
While Bengaluru accounted for 31 per cent of the consultations, the Delhi-NCR region came second at 26 per cent. Hyderabad saw 9 per cent of pediatric consultations by men and Chennai recorded 5 per cent. Mumbai and Pune registered 4 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively.
Interestingly, Tier 2 cities saw 20 per cent of the pediatric consultations by men, signalling a gradual shift in society's attitudes and cultural norms leading to more inclusive parenting duties and increased involvement of fathers in their children's well-being.
If seen age-wise, the data found that men between 25 and 44 years accounted for 75 per cent of pediatric consultations.
recent growth in pediatric consultations by men can be attributed to increased awareness and a shift in family dynamics.
Dr Meena J, senior consultant (paediatrics and neonatology) of Aakash Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi, said men are becoming more informed about the importance of pediatric healthcare and the benefits of seeking medical advice for their children.
"Moreover, many families now have both parents working outside home, leading to shared responsibilities and a greater need for fathers to participate in their children's healthcare," Dr Meena told
Dr Shiv Dubey, MD Paediatrics, said another important factor facilitating fathers' involvement was the rise of online consultations. "Virtual healthcare platforms have made it easier for parents, regardless of gender, to seek medical advice and consultations conveniently from their homes," he said.
A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, based on data published over the past decade, found that paternal involvement from the prenatal stage through a child's lifetime benefits the psycho-social and behavioral development of their children.
"Research has consistently shown that children who have actively involved fathers tend to experience numerous benefits, including better cognitive development, emotional well-being, and social competence. Acknowledging this, fathers are increasingly taking a more proactive stance in caregiving and healthcare decision-making," said Dr Dubey.
Dr Meena said paternal involvement during the prenatal stage was as important as after childbirth.
"Paternal involvement during the prenatal stage positively impacts the mother's health, leading to healthier pregnancies and better birth outcomes," she said.
Dr Meena also stressed that fathers who actively participate in their children's healthcare ensure regular check-ups, proper nutrition, and exercise, thereby promoting better physical health practices.
Many countries, including Nordic countries like Sweden, Denmark and Norway, have progressive rules encouraging new mothers and fathers to share the leave. In the UK, eligible parents can share up to 50 weeks of leave between them.
In India, central government employees get 15 days of paternity leave. However, there is no formal policy in place for employees in the private sector