Looking after your mental health after baby is born - for dads and partners
This information is about your mental health after your baby is born. Find out more about how pregnancy can affect dads and partners.
Your mental health
Having a baby brings a lot of changes. You may be worried about lack of sleep, being a good parent, money problems or changes in your relationship. Some partners feel anxious or depressed during the pregnancy or after the birth.
Asking for help
It’s important to talk to someone if you feel like you’re not coping, or you often feel angry or stressed. You can talk to friends, family, your GP or health visitor. Your health visitor is there for you as well as your partner. They can support you with relationship and parenting problems.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself to be a good father and partner. It’s very easy to forget about myself and forget to take a few minutes to reflect and take stock and, if needs be, ask for help.”
If you need help straight away, call the Samaritans on 116 123.
Getting help for yourself will also mean you’re better able to support your partner and baby.
Postnatal depression in men and partners
It’s not just mums and birthing parents who get postnatal depression. Dads and non-birthing parents can get it too.
Signs of postnatal depression can include:
- often feeling irritable or angry
- finding it hard to concentrate
- feeling guilty or hopeless
- thinking that you’re not a good enough parent.
Speak to your GP if you’re feeling very stressed and finding it hard to cope.
NHS talking therapies
If you live in England and are aged 18 or over, you can access NHS talking therapies services for anxiety and depression. You need to be registered with a GP to get talking therapies on the NHS.
A GP can refer you, or you can refer yourself directly without a referral.
NHS talking therapies services offer:
- talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), counselling, other therapies, and guided self-help
- help for common mental health problems, like anxiety and depression
PANDAS has social media channels for anyone affected by postnatal depression, including partners.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
If the birth was difficult, you may have been worried about your partner’s and baby’s safety. This can lead to symptoms of PTSD.
Read more about recovering from a difficult birth. Although this information was written for mums and birthing parents, dads and non-birthing parents may find it helpful too.
More support and information
If there is anything you need to talk about, you can talk to a Tommy’s midwife free of charge from 9am–5pm, Monday to Friday on 0800 0147 800 or email them at [email protected]
Andys Man Club run UK-wide talking groups for men.
The DadPad is a guide for new dads, developed with the NHS.
Dadsnet is the biggest network of dads in the UK.
Dads Rock provides support to dads and families in Scotland.
Dope Black Dads is a digital safe space for fathers who wish to discuss their experiences of being black, a parent and masculinity in the modern world.
The Hub of Hope is the UK’s leading mental health support database. It brings local, national, peer, community, charity, private and NHS mental health support and services together in one place.
Williams M (2020). Fathers Reaching Out - Why Dads Matter: 10 years of findings on the importance of fathers’ mental health in the perinatal period. https://dadmatters.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/MARK_WILLIAMS_FATHERS_REACHING_OUT_PMH_REPORT10_SEP_2020-2.pdf
Darwin Z et al (2021) Assessing the Mental Health of Fathers, Other Co-parents, and Partners in the Perinatal Period: Mixed Methods Evidence Synthesis. Frontiers in Psychiatry 2021; 11: 1260.
Baldwin S et al (2018). Mental health and wellbeing during the transition to fatherhood: a systematic review of first time fathers’ experiences. JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports 2018; 16(11): 2118-2191.
Hanley J, Williams M (2020). Fathers’ perinatal mental health. British Journal of Midwifery 2020; 28: 2.