Fathers in perinatal services
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
We've published reviews of evidence about fathers and fatherhood in the antenatal and postnatal period, non-accidental injury of infants by male caregivers, and a guide about fathers and breastfeeding
We're exploring options for how to link fathers' and children's health records, to support systematic father-engagement from birth onwards