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Fathers and health

Building better support for fathers, from NHS services

Why change is needed

Expectations for men's involvement as hands-on-fathers have increased dramatically in recent decades. Yet taxpayer-funded services for families, including maternity and health visiting services, remain strongly mother-focused - despite evidence showing the crucial impacts fathers have on mothers and infants.

What needs to happen

We need maternity, health visiting, and other family services to systematically engage with fathers and take them seriously as caregivers.


They should be funded and organised so they:

  • Know who the dads are

  • Engage routinely and confidently with dads

  • Assess and support dads to form close attachments to their babies and become confident hands-on parents

  • Identify and address any risks dads might pose

Key actions

We've lobbied successfully for engagement with fathers / partners to be a clear expectation in key policy documents, e.g. the NICE antenatal and postnatal guidelines

We've produced, in collaboration with the Royal College of Midwives, the Engaging Dads toolkit for midwives to help them improve their father-engagement

With support from the Mental Health Foundation, we've created Becoming Dad: a free guide to help men navigate their own transition to fatherhood

We gave oral evidence to the cross-party Health and Social Care Committee's inquiry into men's health on the importance of engagement with fathers; following on from our written evidence

We've published evidence reviews about fathers in the antenatal and postnatal period (part of the Contemporary Fathers in the UK series); non-accidental injury of infants by male caregivers; and a guide about fathers and breastfeeding

We are members of the First 1001 Days Coalition, working to improve babies' emotional wellbeing and development. Read the Manifesto for Babies here

We're exploring options for how to link fathers' and children's health records, to support systematic father-engagement from birth onwards

How you can help

Commission us to deliver a webinar or training at your workplace

Make a donation to support our ongoing policy work

Follow us on our social media channels

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