Lack of social support

Lack of social support

  • Pregnant women who report good levels of social support are more likely to have better mental and emotional health (102). Having low levels of social support is associated with a greater risk of depression, anxiety and self-harm (102).
  • A lack of partner support is a key risk factor for antenatal anxiety and depression (101).
  • One national survey found that over half of parents feel lonely at least some of the time. Some groups were more likely to feel lonely (103):
    • Mothers were twice as likely to report feeling ‘left out’ than fathers.
    • Twice as many parents in low-income households felt isolated from others, compared to parents in higher-income households.
    • Young parents (aged 18 to 24) were 1.5 times more likely to feel a lack of companionship than parents aged 25 to 34.

Local population

The proportion of sole registrations of live births (births registered to one parent) is above the national average (4.6%) in Fenland (6.0%) and Peterborough (5.8%) (93).

Figure 17: Live births by sole registration, 2021. Data source: (93)

A survey of new parents carried out by Rosie Maternity and Neonatal voices in 2021 investigated what type of mental health issues parents would like to see addressed. The survey found that 10.5 % of local respondents said they would like to have support with loneliness during the perinatal period. This was the 4th highest ranking issue that parents would like to see addressed.

Another local survey found that 61% of local parents reported going to family, friends and peers for support if they were feeling low in the perinatal period (186).


93. Office for National Statistics. Birth characteristics in England and Wales: 2021 [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2023 Apr 6]. Available from:
101. Biaggi A, Conroy S, Pawlby S, Pariante CM. Identifying the women at risk of antenatal anxiety and depression: A systematic review. Vol. 191, Journal of Affective Disorders. 2016.
102. Bedaso A, Adams J, Peng W, Sibbritt D. The relationship between social support and mental health problems during pregnancy: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Vol. 18, Reproductive Health. 2021.
103. Coram. Loneliness among parents of young children [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2023 Feb 22]. Available from: