You and your partner On this page: Support for dads and partners Changing relationships Sex in pregnancy Domestic abuse Work and money Support for dads and partners Just because your partner is the one carrying the baby doesn’t mean her pregnancy has no impact on you. Whether the pregnancy has been planned for months or years, or is unexpected, you’ll probably feel a range of emotions. A baby means new responsibilities that you may not feel ready for, whatever your age. You and the mum-to-be may have mixed feelings about the pregnancy. It’s normal for both of you to feel like this. The first pregnancy will change your life and change can be frightening, even if it’s something you’ve been looking forward to. You may also get depressed. Your partner is facing the biggest changes, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore your own feelings. You need support too. Keep talking and listening to each other, and talk to friends. If you feel you are depressed or anxious and need help, talk to your GP. Help and support is available locally from the following: Let’s Talk Service Let’s Talk offer talking therapies to adults in Gloucestershire who are experiencing mild to moderate anxiety and/or depression. Contact them on 0800 073 2200 or use the online referral form. Find out more via their website here. Dads Matter Dads Matter an organisation who support dads worried about or suffering from anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Find out more via their website here. Not Alone The video below was created in partnership with Active Connections to tackle the stigma around mental health in new dads. The stories in this video are from new dads in their own words, as they share their experiences to show other men in a similar situation that you are not alone, there are people you can talk to who will understand. Changing relationships Becoming a parent often puts a strain on relationships, regardless of what they were like before. Part of the problem is that you’re tired and have so much less time to spend with your partner than you did before the baby arrived. It’s a lot harder to go out together and enjoy the things you used to do. Your partner may feel left out, and you may resent what you see as a lack of support. If you’re having your first baby, you may feel lonely and cut off from your old life. Your partner can’t give you everything you used to get from work and friends. You need other people in your life for support, friendship and a shoulder to cry on. For information on where to find help and advice go to the NHS website page here. Sex in pregnancy Sex during pregnancy is perfectly safe, unless your doctor or midwife has told you not to. If your pregnancy is normal and you have no complications, having sex and orgasms won’t increase your risk of going into labour early or cause a miscarriage. Your midwife or doctor will probably advise you to avoid sex if you’ve had any heavy bleeding in this pregnancy. You’ll also be advised to avoid sex if: • your waters have broken • there are any problems with the entrance to your womb (cervix) • you’re having twins, or have previously had early labours, and are in the later stages of pregnancy For more information about sex in pregnancy read here. Domestic abuse One in four women experiences domestic abuse or domestic violence at some point in their lives. It can be physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or financial, and is often a combination of these types. Pregnancy can be a trigger for domestic abuse, and existing abuse may get worse during pregnancy or after giving birth. Domestic abuse during pregnancy puts you and your unborn child in danger. It increases the risk of miscarriage, infection, premature birth, and injury or death to the baby. It can also cause women to experience emotional and mental health problems, such as stress and anxiety, which can affect the development of the baby. If your partner is violent or abusive, there are a number of places you can turn to for help and support to ensure the safety of you and your baby. The NHS website has more information on abuse in pregnancy. Contact details for organisations who can help can be found in the Your Support section here. Work and money There are a number of maternity and paternity benefits that you may be entitled to. Take a look at some of these below, or visit the NHS website for more information. Free prescriptions If you are pregnant, you are entitled to free NHS prescriptions as long as you have a valid Maternity Exemption Certificate or card. You should apply for a maternity exemption certificate using application form FW8, which can be found in your booking pack, or is available from your midwife, GP or health visitor. They will also need to sign the form, and your midwife will usually do this once your due date is confirmed. Your rights at work When you are pregnant, you may be entitled to some or all of the following: • Maternity pay • Maternity leave • Paid time off for antenatal care • Extra help from the government You can find out about all of these on the Government website here. MatB1 certificates From 20 weeks pregnant your midwife can issue you with your Matb1. This is a maternity certificate to claim statutory maternity pay(SMP) or maternity allowance (MA). You may be entitled to SMP from an employer if you have been employed by the same employer from the beginning of your pregnancy. You may be able to get MA if: • Your employer cannot pay you SMP, or • You are self-employed or do not have an employer • You are neither employed or self-employed but take part in the business of your self-employed spouse or civil-patner. Visit www.gov.uk for more information about SMP and MA. Paternity leave When you take time off because your partner’s having a baby, adopting a child or having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement you might be eligible for: • 1 or 2 weeks’ paid Paternity Leave • Paternity Pay • Shared Parental Leave and Pay • Your employment rights are protected while on paternity leave. You may not get both leave and pay. Fore more information how to claim and when your leave can start click here. Healthy start vouchers If you’re pregnant or have a child under 4, the Healthy Start scheme can help you buy basic foods like milk or fruit. If you qualify for the scheme you’ll be sent vouchers you can use in over 30,000 shops in the UK. You can also get coupons to swap for: • pregnancy vitamins • breastfeeding vitamins • vitamins for children aged 6 months to 5 years old For more information or to find out if you qualify for Healthy Start vouchers, visit the website here. Sure Start Maternity Grant You may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 to help towards the costs of having a child. This is known as a Sure Start Maternity Grant. You usually qualify for the grant if both of the following apply: • you’re expecting your first child, or you’re expecting a multiple birth (such as twins) and have children already • you or your partner already get certain benefits You must claim the grant within 11 weeks of the baby’s due date or within 6 months after the baby’s birth You do not have to pay the grant back and it will not affect your other benefits or tax credits. To claim a Sure Start Maternity Grant you will need to fill in the application form. Your midwife or doctor can sign the form for you. For more information or download the form click here.