‘The appy for a happy pappy’: expectant fatherhood and pregnancy apps

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Many mobile software applications (‘apps’) related to pregnancy have been developed for the global market, yet little research has explored how expectant or new fathers are represented in such technologies. Drawing on a critical discourse analysis of the descriptions of pregnancy apps available in two major online stores, we identify how these media artefacts represent a problematic version of performing fatherhood. On the one hand, notions of ‘intimate’ fatherhood are enacted by emphasising the importance of men acquiring knowledge about pregnancy/childbirth and providing emotional and informed support to their partner as she experiences pregnancy, childbirth and new motherhood. However, many apps also condescend to expectant fathers and trivialize their role, assuming that they need entertainment, humour and encouragement to promote their involvement. We suggest that such meanings are reflected in wider social expectations, norms and paradoxes in relation to the role of men in contemporary parenthood. Further research is required to explore how men engage with apps and how apps contribute to their understandings and practices of expectant and new fatherhood.




Thomas, G. M., Lupton, D., & Pedersen, S. (2018). ‘The appy for a happy pappy’: expectant fatherhood and pregnancy apps. Journal of Gender Studies, 27(7), 759–770. https://doi.org/10.1080/09589236.2017.1301813

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