Helping dads to feel involved during pregnancy

dad and mum make heart shape with hands

As a new dad or dad to be you will feel excited, but you may also feel left out, unsure or overwhelmed. 

Some dads can find it hard to know how to support their partner and their unborn baby. They may feel overlooked or not involved, and maybe find it hard to bond with the baby.  You might also be worried about what is to come and how you might cope with the changes having a baby brings.

Dads tell us that it can be difficult to ask for help or where to find information for them.

There is a space for you!


This is the essential guide for new dads, developed with the NHS. It's a practical guide to gaining the confidence and skills necessary to be the very best dad you can be.

  • Gain the essential mindset and practical skills necessary, even if you have no experience
  • Low cost, high value resource
  • Save time by quickly getting to grips with your new responsibility of being a father
  • Reduce anxiety, become confident to offer the help needed.
  • Provide the best support you can for the child and mother.

How do I get DadPad?

You can download DadPad as a FREE app to your smartphone or tablet. Tap the App store icon for an Apple device and the Play Store icon for a device that runs Android.

DadPad via appstore    dadpad via google play store

Or, you can order a printed 38-page wipe-clean DadPad for just £12.00

Help to bond with your baby

As well as bonding with your baby, you can actually help to keep baby happy and help it to develop in lots of ways before it is born by:

  • stroking/gently massaging the tummy
  • singing
  • playing music

Babies can hear voices outside the tummy and as it develops it will get to reecognise your voice. You can talk and sing to them – your baby will love to hear from you.

This helps your baby:

  • to get to know voices, which will help them feel safe and secure
  • tune up their hearing and get ready for when they will eventually talk

Talking and singing to your baby is also good for their development. Find a quiet time when you and your baby can focus on each other and use a tuneful, sing-song voice.  Try calming stories, songs or music when your baby is quiet, or at bedtime.

It doesn't matter what music or song – if you like it, so will your baby. Never put headphones on mum’s tummy though, as it’s too loud for your baby.

If you feel a bit silly talking to the bump, don’t worry – lots of people do. If you can’t think of anything to say, just chat about the day, share a story, or read a book or magazine out loud.

Other ways you can help during pregnancy

  • Be there - go to the appointments, the parent education lessons and scans if you can. You'll feel closer to the baby and mum might appreciate the support.
  • Read up - use the dad pad and some of the other information in this section. The more you know, the easier it is to deal with the changes and care for yourself, mum and the baby.
  • Help with getting things prepared for the baby in terms of safety in the home, visit our Keeping your baby safe page for more information.

Did you know

We also have some FREE parenting programmes and workshops for dads and mums who are expecting a baby

HENRY - Becoming a new family

A 2 hour workshop to prepare you for the changes that will take place when becoming a new family. It normalises the range of feelings, looks at expectations of family life and builds confidence and strategies for becoming a new family.

What the session covers

  • Identify typical changes they might experience when becoming a new parent
  • Learn that experiencing a wide range of emotions is perfectly normal
  • Understand how feelings affect behaviour and identify underlying needs
  • Explore different ways to cope with the changes of becoming a new family

HENRY - Preparation for Parenthood

A 6-session programme helping you prepare for the arrival of your baby, designed to give expectant parents the confidence, knowledge and skills they need as they navigate the changes of pregnancy and life with a new baby.

What the sessions cover

  • attitudes and skills for pregnancy and life with a new baby
  • creating a healthy lifestyle for the whole family
  • providing the best environment possible for the developing baby 
  • before and after birth
  • developing a positive attitude to change
  • understanding the emotional needs of parents and newborns and building emotional well-being
  • increased self-belief and enhanced self-esteem

Baby Steps

This is an online programme delivered by Action for Children which aims to help parents prepare for all the changes coming their way.

Suitable for

Following additional funding from the Family Hubs Start for Life programme anyone living in the Bradford district can now apply if either mum or dad:

  • have low-level mental health problems
  • have learning difficulties
  • lack strong social or support networks
  • are a victim of domestic abuse, or have been in the past
  • are suffering with substance misuse, or have done in the past
  • are aged 20 or under
  • are in the care system, or have been in the past
  • experience poor living conditions or severe financial hardship
  • are homeless
  • Chaotic lifestyle and/ore moves around a lot
  • are not in education, employment or training
  • have difficulty reading, speaking or understanding English
  • are from particularly disadvantaged or isolated minority ethnic communities
  • are recent migrants, asylum seekers, refugees
  • are gypsies or travellers
  • are or have been offenders
  • children have a social worker
  • children have been taken in to care 

Find out more

For more information, including our amazing feedback and an online form to apply, please visit the Parenting Programmes page.

Online Support

From pregnancy, the birth, supporting your partner, becoming a Dad, worries, top tips and Dad hacks, "Dad Life" from BBC Tiny Happy People has a range of helpful videos to guide you.

Visit BBC Dad Life now

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