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. fathers at the birth

    Better prepared fathers more helpful during the birth (Poland)

    In 1959, Grantly Dick-Read wrote “the totally unprepared man has no place at the birth of his child” in his celebrated book Childbirth without Fear. 57 years later, a Polish study has found that fathers who have attended antenatal classes are indeed more supportive of their wife during labour. Prepared fathers are twice as likely...

  2. premature baby

    Mothers and fathers of premature babies can react differently

    A small Italian study has found greater levels of stress among mothers of premature babies than among fathers. Mothers are more distressed by the alteration in their own role and by the appearance of their baby. Meanwhile, fathers in this study reported greater feelings of anger and fear in the context of bonding with their...

  3. neonatal intensive care

    How to engage fathers in neonatal intensive care units

    A review of 27 research papers on fathers in neonatal intensive care units, led by midwife Jill Ireland at St Mary’s Matarnity Hospital in Poole, UK, concludes with a set of recommendations for how fathers should be supported. 1. Help relieve parental stress, fathers included. Some studies show fathers report less stress, but others find...

  4. NICU

    European NICUs weakest link is support for fathers’ participation in infant care

    A study of family centred care in 11 European neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) found that they performed weakest in fathers’ participation in infant care, particularly in the view of fathers. The other key weaknesses were emotional support and parents’ participation in decision-making. Meanwhile, the strongest aspect of family centred care, as rated by parents,...

  5. A recent discussion article by Dr Ellen Tilden and colleagues has proposed that the principles underlying good end-of-life care are relevant to maternity care.

    End-of-life care: lessons for maternity care

    A recent discussion article by Dr Ellen Tilden and colleagues has proposed that the principles underlying good end-of-life care are relevant to maternity care. The US Institute of Medicine guidelines on end-of-life care propose four core principles: Patient autonomy Person-centred care Honouring individual perspectives and preferences Honouring social support for the individual The idea that...

  6. Mumbai

    New measure of "gender-based household maltreatment" proposed in India

    A study of 1039 women in Mumbai has investigated the extent of non-violent “gender based household maltreatment” (GBHM) by husbands and in-laws. A woman was recorded as having experienced GBHM if she answered yes to one or more of the following questions: Did either your husband or your in-laws: force you to bring money or...



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