AIM The involvement of fathers in the preparation for birth was a major progress in modern obstetrics. The present study investigates how fathers evaluate the ultrasound examination during pregnancy and how much they are stressed by the diagnosis of a possible fetal developmental disturbance. METHOD In a specialized ultrasound center at the University Hospital in Zurich 54 couples who came in with the diagnosis of a possible fetal developmental disturbance were interviewed for their emotional stress and attitudes towards ultrasound examinations during pregnancy. RESULTS Levels of state anxiety were significantly above the norm for both men and women. However, male partners felt less stressed and experienced less anxiety than the pregnant women. Men were also more optimistic about the health status of the unborn baby. There were no differences in attitudes towards ultrasound examination between women and their male partners, however, men rated their experiences with ultrasound examinations more critical and knew less about it. The support of ultrasound as a routine examination method during pregnancy was high in both sexes. CONCLUSION The diagnosis of a possible fetal developmental disturbance is a big emotional distress for pregnant women and the fathers of the baby. It does not result in a negative attitude towards ultrasound examination, though.