A global issue

The World Health Organisation has declared that engaging fathers and families in maternal and infant health is a high priority. It saves lives. Each year over 300,000 mothers die during pregnancy and childbrith and 2.7 million babies die within a month of being born; most of these deaths are preventable.

  1. research


    We monitor and report on research evidence so you won't miss important advances in understanding.
  2. practice


    We collect and report on stories from members.
  3. policy


    We are developing a partnership around a Family Inclusion Toolkit for maternal health services. Read more here.
  4. peer support

    Peer support

    We are building social networking tools so that any member can easily contact another.

Family Included Charter

Family inclusive maternal healthcare is when fathers and other family members are actively engaged by healthcare workers in a partnership of care for a woman during her pregnancy, during labour and childbirth and in the care of the newborn.

Read the Charter in more detail.

  1. Communicate to women that partners and other family members are welcome.
  2. Use all opportunities to welcome family members and ensure that they are considered partners in the care of the pregnant woman.
  3. Communicate directly with family members.
  4. Respect the woman and her family.
  5. Encourage birth companions.
  6. Encourage bonding between father and baby from the earliest moments.
  7. Support the family in early care for mother and baby.
  8. Organise social support for families where problems are revealed.
  9. Embed family inclusiveness through education, training, policies and management.

Research, Case Studies, News

We are gradually building the world’s biggest collection of research, practice and news on family inclusive maternal and infant health care.

  1. respectful maternal healthcare

    The campaign for respectful maternal healthcare, midwife led care and family inclusive care: all have the same aim

    After the Second World War, birth in western countries was gradually moved out of the home and into hospitals. Infant and maternal mortality rates decreased substantially, but with the removal of mothers from their natural place of support and safety came a wide range of problems, not least inhuman treatment on occasions. This change of...

  2. 22809983779_e63433a3e8_k

    Breastfeeding as family teamwork: a research to practice briefing

    Supporting breastfeeding is a family endeavour (everywhere) by Jennifer Abbass-Dick, Lynn Rempel, John Rempel, Tran Huu Bich, Duncan Fisher Published by The Family Initiative. Support from family is critical for the success of breastfeeding: if fathers and family members are supportive of breastfeeding, the mother is more likely to initiate breastfeeding and to breastfeed for...

  3. breastfeeding

    Irish study recommends practical information on breastfeeding for fathers

    A study in Ireland has asked fathers about their views on breastfeeding. 417 fathers of babies aged 4 to 7 months were asked to complete a questionnaire. They were mostly employed (96%), college educated (77%) and married (88%). 75% of the men said they were involved in the breastfeeding decision. Of these, 73% encouraged it,...

  4. fathers support breastfeeding

    Some kinds of support by fathers for breastfeeding may be counter-productive (Canada)

    A new study has looked at what kind of support by fathers for breastfeeding works best in relation to extending its duration. Earlier research has shown that mothers breastfeed longer when the fathers strongly believe in breastfeeding, but in this study, the researchers unexpectedly found that some kinds of support by fathers correlate with a...

  5. attitudes

    Changing attitudes towards pregnancy and birth by Rwandan fathers challenge maternal health services

    A study in Kigali Rwanda interviewed 32 men about their attitudes to childbearing and their encounter with maternal health services. It revealed a tension between more progressive gender attitudes on the part of the men and the lack of response of maternal health services. The researchers regard this as a lost opportunity to promote gender...

  6. father-infant skin-to-skin

    Father-infant skin-to-skin benefits babies, fathers and mothers (international literature review)

    A literature review on father-infant skin-to-skin contact (SSC) found that it has positive impacts on babies, on fathers and on family relationships. The review, led by Dr Shefaly Shorey at the National University of Singapore, covered 12 studies including two quantitative ones. 10 of the studies were in developed countries, one in India and one...



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