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

Thomas, Gareth M.; Lupton, Deborah; Pedersen, Sarah


Gareth M. Thomas

Deborah Lupton


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. and PEDERSEN, S. 2018. The appy for a happy pappy: expectant fatherhood and pregnancy apps. Journal of gender studies [online], 27(7), pages 759-770. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 28, 2017
Online Publication Date Mar 16, 2017
Publication Date Oct 31, 2018
Deposit Date Mar 23, 2017
Publicly Available Date Sep 17, 2018
Journal Journal of gender studies
Print ISSN 0958-9236
Electronic ISSN 1465-3869
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Issue 7
Pages 759-770
Keywords Apps; Fatherhood; Masculinities; Parenting; Pregnancy; Sociology
Public URL


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