Sources of help for fathers during the Covid-19 crisis

15 December 2021

Families in the UK, and around the world, are experiencing unprecedented challenges, ranging from enforced proximity to enforced separation, not to mention coping with financial stress and the difficulties of keeping small children entertained.

Here are some links to sources of information and advice that you might find useful as you navigate your way through this…

We are adding to and updating the information on this page periodically, as and when updates and resources allow. We cannot guarantee that the information here is the most current and appropriate at any given time; do please consult your local NHS providers and other local sources, to find out the current situation in your area.

Covid-19-related information/advice

UK Government advice, including about employment, education, school closures and childcare

ADDED 15.12.2021: Additional Government guidance on supporting children and young people’s mental health during the Covid-19 outbreak.

ADDED 10.02.2021: Since the first lockdown in the spring of 2020, we and others have been campaigning for a common sense approach to allowing fathers (and other parents) into antenatal appointments and scans, and labour/birth. We are part of #ButNotMaternity, a collective of volunteer campaigners, aiming to ensure that maternity restrictions in the UK are evidence based and proportionate to the risk of birth trauma as well as Covid-19. You can find out more on the But Not Maternity website, which features practical actions you can take if you are personally affected by the restrictions. Updated 15.12.2021: Since the start of the pandemic we have heard about widely differing ‘visiting’ policies in NHS trusts across the country, with fathers and other birth partners being totally excluded from, or having extremely restricted access to, some maternity services. We recently joined Birthrights in objecting to restrictions in Wales, but the Welsh Government rejected our call for them to be amended. The But Not Maternity coalition will reconvene regular meetings after the New Year.

ADDED 15.12.2021: We published Dads Shut Out, based on our 2020-21 survey of fathers’, mothers’ and health professionals’ experiences of maternity services visiting restrictions, in November.

Here is our article summarising what to expect as an expectant dad, which we published during the first lockdown (April 2020). Updated 15.12.2021: The situation has changed since this was published, and especially in the wake of the Omicron variant. Please contact your local NHS provider to check current restrictions.

ADDED 31.01.2021: Birthrights (also part of #ButNotMaternity) published an article drawing on latest legal advice, at the end of January 2021, making clear that trusts which as well as preventing fathers/ partners from attending scans, don’t allow them to be involved in the appointment remotely, may be acting unlawfully and unreasonably: read more here. Updated 15.02.2021: Birthrights is also pushing for more ‘common sense’ guidance in the NHS around birth partners (in most cases, fathers) – arguing, for example, that being a birth partner and visiting your baby in a neonatal unit should exempt one from self-isolation regulations: read more here. Updated 15.12.2021: See above for an update about recent/ ongoing But Not Maternity actions.

Some trusts are proving better than others at communicating with parents about the do’s and don’ts of hospital attendance during lockdown. Here’s a case study, published by Birthrights, about how one NHS trust has taken a considered, proactive approach to communicating with parents at this time.

A top tip from several dads: make sure your wife/ partner has a phone charger with a long lead if/when she goes into hospital – especially if she is having a c-section. This can help her communicate with you much more easily, saving her from having to bend and lean to use her device, and saving professionals valuable time having to help her get plugged in comfortably!

ADDED 10.02.2021: The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ Information for pregnant women and their families was updated in January 2021, and includes wide-ranging information, including for birth partners. Updated 15.12.2021: These guidelines were updated in July 2021, so the link above is still valid.

Guidance from the Royal College of Midwives & Royal College of Obstretricians & Gynaecologists about the provision of home births (NB, This is guidance aimed at professionals, exploring the impact of midwife shortages and how services might best organise themselves in response. It may help explain why home birthing options are or are not currently available in your area).

Parenting through Coronavirus: regularly reviewed and updated advice from the Institute of Health Visiting.

Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group has produced this page to help expectant and new parents know whether to seek emergency care.

World Health Organisation Parenting in the time of COVID-19

Unicef’s Coronavirus guide for parents.

Parent Club Scotland has produced this guidance about keeping your family safe from the virus.

Iconcope has produced some importance guidance aimed at protecting babies from shaken baby syndrome (men are more prone to shaking babies, so this is well worth a read).

Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisations has produced this listing of Covid-19 support and resources for black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

Doctors of the World and the British Red Cross have produced this summary of latest Covid-19 guidance in 48 languages.

What happens if you lose your baby to miscarriage during lockdown? Here’s a case study and some useful information from the Miscarriage Association.

The Co-SPYCE study, a collaboration between the Universities of Oxford, Southampton and Reading, is exploring how parents of 2-4 year olds are coping in the Covid-19 pandemic. Take part in their survey here. Updated 15.12.2021: This survey is no longer active.

If you are unable to be present during your partner’s labour, for example because you have the virus, you could suggest she consider a birthing app like the Positive Birth Company’s Freya App, to help with breathing techniques.

Fatherhood Institute guide: Supporting breastfeeding during Covid-19.

General information for expectant/new dads

NHS information for expectant dads and partners

NHS guidance on visiting inpatient facilities (including maternity services) – issued in June 2020, and superseding the guidance issued in April. Updated 15.12.2021: This page is no longer active.

NHS information for pregnant women

Updated 15.12.2021: Becoming Dad: A Guide for New Fathers, written by the Fatherhood Institute and published in collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation, is now available for free to dads directly, or via family practitioners. Register to receive it as a PDF here. Best Beginnings’ Baby Buddy app is also now available, featuring daily information specifically for dads, written by the Fatherhood Institute. Download it here.

DadPad – a practical guide for new fathers – is available for dads to buy here.

Online birth preparation courses: Birthing for Blokes; DaddyNatal online

Information about home births from NCT.

Dads Rock is running online parenting workshops (free but with a suggested donation of £10) – find out more here.

If you can access Netflix, check out its Babies series, especially episode 1, which explains how vital a role dads can play in caregiving. Here’s the trailer (link to Youtube).

National Childbirth Trust: How can dads bond with their baby

Family Lives: Becoming a dadD

Tameside Early Attachment Service: Getting it right from the start (Youtube video)

NCT courses

As part of its Tiny Happy People resource support parent-baby communication, BBC has published this guide to mental health for new dads.

Fatherhood websites


Dad Info

The Dads Net

Local and other support groups

Leeds Dads

Dads Rock Edinburgh

Dad Matters UK

Dangerous Dads Network

Dope Black Dads

Combining earning and caring

Citizens Advice

Working Families

Working Dads

If you’re enjoying spending time with your young children, maybe you could enjoy a career looking after other people’s! Our MITEY website is packed with resources aimed at supporting more men into careers in early years education. If you are a man based in the North West of England, you could even join Kids Planet’s apprenticeship programme, and train to be an early years educator. Find out more here.

Protecting your mental health

Dads Matter UK

Fathers Reaching Out

If you are experiencing problems with your mental health, please reach out to trusted and supportive friends, family members and/or your GP. You may also find links to useful support via the MIND website.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, please contact The Samaritans (tel. 116 123) or the CALM Zone, or call 999.

Protecting your relationship


Tavistock Relationships: General online couple counselling and Free online support for parents in London

Relationships Scotland

Sharing care in separated families

Cafcass guidance for children and families, clarifying the official advice on children moving between households.

Child Law Advice

Citizens Advice guidance on making child arrangements.

Families Need Fathers has published useful guides to help you navigate child arrangements, child maintenance and universal credit. Here’s a link to the FNF Covid-19 page.

Only Dads is running daily online chat sessions and has published useful Covid-19 links. Click here.

Shared Parenting Scotland and Both Parents Matter (based in Wales) have produced this survey to find out about separated parents’ sharing of care during the pandemic.

Family Mediation Northern Ireland are still supporting separated families remotely.

Some activities to do with babies/toddlers

Check out the Department for Education’s Hungry Little Minds campaign.

National Literacy Trust Family Zone.

Watch/listen to our Celebrity Story Time video clips (on Youtube).

EYFS Home, a start-up created since the Covid-19 crisis hit, offers a simple, organised programme of activities for 3-5 year olds.

Book Trust Home Time.

PACEY (the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years) has pulled together a range of activities and other resources on its Learning at home page.

If you have a child due to start primary school in September, here’s a useful BBC Bitesize article from a head teacher, about how you can help get them ready.More to follow….

Found a useful resource and want to share it? Please email Jeremy at j.davies (at) or contact us via Facebook or Twitter.

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