About the study

NEST was set up in 2016 and is being funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) as part of a doctoral fellowship awarded to Sharin Baldwin. Sharin is a health visitor studying for her PhD at King’s College London.

New Dad Study (NEST)

Becoming a parent for the first time can bring about many changes to lifestyle and it can also be a stressful period with lots of challenges for mothers and fathers. While the importance of mothers’ needs during this period is widely recognised, fathers’ needs remain poorly understood and often unmet by relevant health professionals.

We know from previous studies that if fathers feel well supported by the health professionals they come into contact with, they are able to better support their families and experience more positive mental wellbeing and satisfaction as a parent. However, we need to know much more about the experiences of new fathers, particularly those becoming fathers for the first time, to ensure health professionals are aware of the sort of support new fathers feel would be of benefit, and when best to provide this support.

Healthy families

New fathers play an important role in supporting their partners, especially during pregnancy and the months after birth. Positive father involvement with the care of their child is associated with lower levels of stress and depression in their partner.

As well as providing practical support to their partners, for example helping with ‘hands on’ child care, fathers can also help their partners to make positive health decisions, for example supporting a woman’s decision to breastfeed, and encouraging her to quit smoking. If a new father smokes, making a decision to quit before or after the baby’s birth will help protect the health of the baby, as well as their own health and the health of their partner.

Fathers mental health matters

Better understanding of new fathers’ mental health and wellbeing and their experiences of becoming a father could help to inform changes to better support fathers during this important and transforming time in their lives.

Are you a new father (within one year of birth), living in the London boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark, Ealing, Brent or Harrow? Are you interested in contributing to the New Dad Study?