Maternity services told to be more dad-friendly

Midwives are being urged to get dads-to-be and new fathers more involved in maternity care

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Dads are being encouraged to play a bigger role during their partner’s pregnancy and once the baby arrives. A new guide has been published to help dads become a bigger part of the process.

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The 16-page guide by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) called Reaching Out: Involving Fathers in maternity care, suggests that some dads feel ‘traumatised’ by the experience and can often be left out of the process.

The guide aims to address the problem of dads being “invisible parent” and urges maternity wards to provide men’s lifestyle magazines to help make fathers feel comfortable. It also suggests that antenatal classes should be arranged around their work and even their sporting commitments.

“A father’s role should not begin and end at conception. There is now substantial evidence of the benefits resulting from fathers being involved in their partner’s maternity care,” said Cathy Warwick, general secretary of the RCM.

“Most women want their partners to be involved in their pregnancy.”

Public Health Minister Anne Milton added, “Fathers want to feel involved throughout their partner’s pregnancy and this guide is a step to making that happen.”

The guide aims to support midwives too, as it comes as the NHS is currently dealing with the shortage of midwives and other maternity ward staff. An increase in new dads’ involvement in maternity care have reportedly already reduced workloads for midwives.

The guide is funded by the Department of Health, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynarecologists (RCOG) and the Fatherhood Institute. It will be launched at the RCM’s annual conference in Brighton

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