High-risk pregnancies - for dads and partners

Some mums and birthing parents need extra care if there’s a higher chance of problems during labour and birth. The medical team may offer your partner extra antenatal appointments or they may recommend giving birth in hospital. This is to help your partner have a healthy pregnancy and birth.

Why a pregnancy may be high risk

Possible reasons for your partner having a higher risk pregnancy include:    

Your partner’s care

If your partner needs extra care, the doctor or midwife will make sure you both understand why. They will talk through your partner’s care options and answer your questions. 

The doctor or midwife will usually advise your partner to give birth in a hospital that has the medical equipment and doctors they may need. But it is your partner’s choice where they give birth.

Coping with a higher-risk pregnancy

It’s natural to feel worried or uncertain about your partner and baby. Your partner will have extra appointments during pregnancy to check that all is well and pick up any problems early on. These appointments are a good opportunity to ask about anything that’s worrying you. 

Taking time off work

If your partner needs to spend time in hospital during pregnancy, it can feel difficult to cope with the extra demands on you. You may need to take time off work to visit your partner or care for older children. You may also want to go with your partner to the extra appointments and scans. This can lead to financial difficulties.  

You have the right to take unpaid time off work to go to 2 antenatal appointments. Speak to your employer about your options for taking time off work. You could ask to use your annual leave or make up the time later. 

More support and information

Maternity Action has information for fathers and partners about work and benefits.

NICE (2019) Intrapartum care for women with existing medical conditions or obstetric complications and their babies: NICE guideline 121. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng121 

EFCNI, Cetin I et al (2018) European Standards of Care for Newborn Health: Maternal transfer for specialist care. https://newborn-health-standards.org/standards/standards-english/birth-transfer/maternal-transfer-for-specialist-care/ 

Mirzakhani K et al (2020) Well-being in high-risk pregnancy: an integrative review. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2020; 20(1): 526. 

Maternity Action. Rights at work for fathers and partners including same sex partners. https://maternityaction.org.uk/advice/rights-at-work-for-fathers-and-partners/ (Page last reviewed: January 2021)

Review dates
Reviewed: 15 June 2022
Next review: 15 June 2025