New maternity guide helps midwives reach out to dads

5 December 2011

In 2007, important Department of Health guidance Maternity Matters set out clearly that midwives and other health professionals should engage with both parents as routine in maternity care, and make sure that both are well informed. Since then guidance both from DH and NICE – for instance, on maternal mental health, nutrition, and supporting mothers with complex needs – have all emphasised this requirement

Not only can fathers be great supports throughout pregnancy, birth and beyond (and most mothers can’t imagine giving birth without their partner present) but it is now becoming clear that fathers can help keep mothers and infants safe where there are midwife shortages.

Evidence is also coming through that when maternity services engage with fathers, this can save the service money – for instance, when a father who would normally rush his partner into hospital at the first signs of labour, can help her stay at home until it is really the best time to go in.

Now comes clear guidance on fathers specifically in this16-page publication: Reaching Out: Involving Fathers in Maternity Care developed by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), the Department of Health, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Fatherhood Institute.

It provides a really clear and comprehensive approach for including fathers for the health and wellbeing of mothers and infants – and because they themselves are experiencing the most significant transition of their adult lives.

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