Dads feel better prepared than mums for new babies, says Aviva

Article date: 4 December 2009

  • New generation parents more prepared than their parents were

Contrary to popular belief, dads feel more prepared than mums when it comes to the arrival of a new baby. Two thirds (67%) of new dads say they felt totally prepared for some or all the first six months, compared to 52% of mums*. 

According to new research from Aviva, the gender split of responsibilities during pregnancy means first-time fathers feel better equipped, both practically and emotionally, for "bringing up baby" than even the expectant mother! This is down to the different roles mums and dads take in the run-up to the birth.

First-time dads take responsibility for securing the family’s financial wellbeing, with one in five (20%) sorting out the family finances during pregnancy, and just over one in three (35%) most concerned about balancing work and home life and financial matters (27%) over the first six months.

In contrast, first-time mums take responsibility for birthing preparations, with just under a quarter (24%) solely responsible for organising antenatal classes, overnight bags and hospital routes. And even though, before birth, 15% of mums prepare for the emotional impact of having a child, one in three (35%) still feel they have not prepared enough. This is compared to just 15% of men.

Ultimately, the gender split of responsibilities leaves 48% of new mums feeling totally unprepared for the first six months, compared to 33% of new dads**. Perhaps it isn’t a surprise that women are therefore twice as likely (17%) to panic or feel scared about the new arrival than men, who are most likely to simply be excited (65%).

However, despite refuting many commonly held beliefs about gender roles, there is no disputing the adage "boys and their toys". 5%of men use the new arrival as an excuse to buy a new car.

The generation gap
The research also reveals that new generation parents are more prepared for some or all of the first six months of having a new baby than their own parents were 25 years ago. Almost three quarters (74%) who have children aged from one to three feel equipped, compared to 55% of parents 25 years ago.

Although they feel more prepared, modern parenting brings worries and anxieties that are far more pronounced than a generation ago. Perhaps due to the credit crunch, new parents now worry most about their family’s financial wellbeing, making support services for advice and products for new parents all the more important.

New parent worries

Parents post 2005    

Parents pre 1985

Balancing work and home life



Balancing finances    



The change in partner relationship



Louise Colley, head of protection for Aviva, said: “New parents put themselves under huge pressure to be completely prepared for having a baby. It is a life-changing event and, in all likelihood, all the preparation in the world will not make you feel 100% ready. New parents should decide what factors will help them feel most in control, then take small steps to achieve them.

“As a parent myself, I found that some basic financial behaviours can help you to feel much more in control and prepared for supporting a baby. This includes saving, budgeting for one wage and limiting the amount spent on kit for the new baby, but also putting in place some financial protection, such as life cover.

“This is why Aviva offers free life cover of £10,000, per parent, per child to new parents who register before their baby is six months old***. This recognises that new parents do not always consider family protection when they have a young baby. It goes some way towards helping new parents prepare for such a momentous experience.”

The Aviva new parent research also reveals that expectant mums rely on friends as a vital source of information, with one in five (20%) turning to them for advice, compared to 13% of men. Mums (42%) are also almost twice as likely as dads (23%) to find books and magazines helpful (42%), whereas dads are more likely to turn to their parents (38%).

When comparing how parents have prepared through time it is clear that sources of trusted advice have changed dramatically over the years. Nearly two thirds of parents with children under three (65%) found online resources most helpful, where as 25 years ago, one in three (34%) new parents turned to their doctor.

To find out more about the Aviva life cover for new parents initiative and to register, visit or call 0800 404 6434.


* Figure does not include "don’t knows".

** All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2050 adults of which 1259 have a child. Fieldwork was undertaken between 13-16 November 2009. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted.

*** Cover lasts up until the child’s first birthday.

The Aviva offer provides £10,000 of life cover per parent, making up to £20,000 of cover per child (£40,000 for twins or £60,000 for triplets).

For further information:

Teamspirit Public Relations
Sara Barrow
Telephone: 0207 360 7878

Aviva Press Office
Sarah Poulter
Telephone: 01904 452828 / out of hours 07800 691569 

Notes to editors:

About Aviva
Aviva, the international savings, investments and insurance group, is the world’s fifth largest insurance group, serving 50 million customers across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. 

In the UK, Aviva is a leading provider of life, pensions, investment, general insurance and health products to more than 20 million customers. Aviva also provides roadside assistance through the RAC. Products are distributed through a number of channels including IFAs, brokers, corporate partners and direct to customers via the internet.

Aviva's UK Insurance business has a market share of around 15%, making it the largest general insurer in the UK. The business is focused on insurance for individuals and small businesses.

Aviva's life and pensions business in the UK has a total market share of 12% and a top three position in its key markets of savings, protection, and annuities.

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