Fathers still shut out of childbirth, says report

The NHS is ignoring the important role that fathers can play after birth, according to a thinktank report published today.

The Fatherhood Institute report, ‘The Dad Deficit: the Missing Piece in the Jigsaw', said that fathers are often seen as an ‘optional extra', and that the benefits of actively involving dads from birth was ‘profound'.

The institute has launched a 12-point action plan to encourage the health servuce to recognise the role of fathers before, during and after birth. 

According to the report, fathers should be allowed to stay overnight on postnatal wards, with double rooms becoming the norm within 10 years. Fathers should also be present during doctors' rounds and at other important times so that both parents receive vital information about their baby's health.

The institute wants fathers to be given more antenatal information to help them share responsibility with mothers, particularly on the values of breastfeeding and the dangers to babies of passive smoking. 

Duncan Fisher, chief executive of the Fatherhood Institute, said: ‘Research shows that the positive involvement of fathers right from the start is crucial; and that when professionals engage with fathers, particularly young or otherwise vulnerable dads, this makes a huge difference to mother and baby.'

emma.bower@haymarket.com

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