Research and Publications

The core research underlying this impact agenda comes from four related projects on the mental health of new parents –

New fathers, mental health and digital communication

Funded by the University of Surrey’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and led jointly by Paul and Ranjana (2018-2019), this project considered the often-neglected area of new fathers’ struggles with mental health difficulties, and the role of digital media as part of coping practices. This research has been published in New Media and Society, and in Social Media and Society, and has had its findings launched as a report for practitioners in September 2019.

Now written up into our new book, New Fathers, Mental Health and Digital Communication, the work identified lack of information and support opportunities for such fathers as key to their struggles.

Technologies in maternal mental health

The second project, funded by the British Academy was led by Ranjana (2016-2018) and considered the increasingly important role of technologies in maternal mental health. This work has recently been published as a monograph with Routledge, and has been disseminated via 4 journal articles and numerous talks. Some of the journal papers are linked here and here.

The research highlights the range of socially induced pressures and anxieties to which mothers are subject and gaps in care and support.

Migrant mothers and mental health communication

Funded by the Wellcome Trust and led by Ranjana in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Surrey’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (Louise Davies and Nadine Page) this work looked specifically at the mental health communication of migrant mothers. Addressing an area in which existing knowledge is limited, this work has drawn a significant amount of interest from practitioners such as the NCT and the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) and has been published as a report in 2019.

This work has highlighted the diverse and particular challenges faced by migrant mothers, in addition to an emphasis on cultural roadblocks, and communicative difficulties with healthcare professionals and/or impediments in the way of seeking and finding support.

New mothers and COVID-19

The fourth project, conducted with funding from the University of Surrey, was led by Ranjana, and looked at the impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the mental health of new mothers and pregnant women. This work has highlighted urgent recommendations for maternity and pregnancy as the pandemic progresses.

Our Publications

Individually and jointly, Ranjana and Paul have been working on various aspects of perinatal mental health. What follows is a full list of their publications – books, journal papers and a range of non-academic writings – on the subject of mothers’ and fathers’ perinatal mental health.


Hodkinson, P. & Das, R. (2021). New Fathers, Mental Health and Digital Communication. London: Palgrave

This book analyses in-depth, qualitative material on new fathers’ experiences of mental health difficulties after having a baby and, in particular, their use of online communications as part of their coping practices. At the heart of the book are the ways discourses of masculinity and fatherhood can exacerbate fathers’ difficulties and make communicating with others particularly challenging – and the extent to which digital media may provide opportunities to negotiate or contest such discourses through engaging with information and others, disclosing struggles and seeking support.

We examine the digital mediation of emotions around paternal mental health, the emergence of new, networked paternal intimacies, and new forms of connection and disconnection which shape, resource, and potentially empower fathers communicating about mental health.

Das, R. (2019). Early Motherhood in Digital Societies: Ideals, anxieties and ties of the perinatal. LondonRoutledge

Early Motherhood in Digital Societies offers a nuanced understanding of what the digital turn has meant for new mothers in an intense and critical period before and after they have a baby, often called the ‘perinatal’ period. The book looks at an array of digital communication and content by drawing on an extensive research project involving in-depth interviews with new mothers in the United Kingdom and online case studies. 

The book asks: what does the use of technology mean in the perinatal context and what implications might it have for maternal wellbeing? The book argues for a balanced and context-sensitive approach to the digital in the context of perinatality and maternal wellbeing in the critical perinatal period.


  1. Das, R. (2021). Women’s experiences of maternity and perinatal mental health services during the first Covid-19 lockdown. Journal of Health Visiting9(7), 297-303.
  2. Das, R. & Beszlag, D. (2021). Migrant mothers’ experiences of perinatal mental ill health in the UK and their expectations of healthcareJournal of Health Visiting Online First.
  3. Das, R. & Hodkinson, P. (2020). Affective coding: Strategies of online steganography in fathers’ mental health disclosureNew Media and Society
  4. Das, R., & Hodkinson, P. (2019). Tapestries of intimacy: Networked intimacies and new fathers’ emotional self-disclosure of mental health strugglesSocial Media+ Society5(2), 2056305119846488.
  5. Das, R. (2018). Temporally inexpensive, affectively expensive: Digitally mediated maternal interpersonal ties in the perinatal monthsCommunication, Culture and Critique 
  6. Das, R. (2018). The mediated subjectivities of the maternal: A critique of childbirth videos on YouTube. Communication Review.
  7. Das, R. (2017). Speaking about birth: Visible and silenced narratives in online discussions of childbirth. Social Media + Society.
  8. Das, R. (2017). The mediation of childbirth: Joyful birthing and strategies of silencing on a Facebook advice and support group. European Journal of Cultural Studies


1. Das, R. (2020).COVID-19, Perinatal Mental Health and the Digital Pivot: Findings from a qualitative project and recommendations for a ‘new normal’. Guildford, Surrey. 

2. Das, R. & Hodkinson, P. (2019). New Fathers, Mental Health and Social Media. Guildford, Surrey. 

3. Das, R. (Eds.) (2019). Migrant mothers’ mental health communication in the perinatal period. Guildford, Surrey. 


1. Das, R. (2020). Written Evidence to the Women’s and Equalities Select Committee on the Disproportionate Impacts of COVID-19 on Pregnancy and Maternity.

2. Das, R. & Hodkinson, P. (2019). Written Evidence to the Women’s and Equalities Select Committee on the Mental Health of Men and Boys’: New Fathers’ Perinatal Mental Health


  1. Das, R. (2020).‘Down will come baby, cradle and all’: Maternal anxiety in giving birth and raising infants amidst COVID19. BSA Everyday Society. 
  2. Das, R. (2020).Birth and beyond in a pandemic: Findings from a project with mothers in the England lockdown of spring 2020 . Centre for Research on Families and Relationships.
  3. Das, R.  & Hodkinson, P. (2020).Dad, distanced: The turbulence of new fatherhood amidst a pandemic. Discover Society.
  4. Das, R. (2020).Covid19, new motherhood and the digital pivot. Discover Society.
  5. New Book: Key Conclusions from Early Motherhood in Digital Societies – Ideals, Anxieties and Ties of the Perinatal. Surrey Sociology Blog.
  6. Das, R. (2019). New Book: Key Conclusions from Early Motherhood in Digital Societies – Ideals, Anxieties and Ties of the Perinatal. Surrey Sociology Blog.
  7. Das, R. (2019). New Report: Migrant Mothers’ Mental Health Communication in the Perinatal Period. Surrey Sociology Blog.
  8. Das, R. (2019). UK Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week: Mums Matter in Digital Societies. Surrey Sociology Blog.
  9. Das, R. (2019). Mothers’ Day: Ambivalences, Fractures and Ambiguities of ‘Mother’ . Surrey Sociology Blog.
  10. Das, R. & Hodkinson, P. (2019). Rescinding the ‘Rock’: Masculine imperatives to support and mental health struggles among new fathers. Surrey Sociology Blog. 
  11. Das, R. (2019). Going online for maternal mental health? A balanced, context-sensitive approach to placing maternal mental health on the digital health roadmap. Surrey Sociology Blog. 
  12. Das, R. & Hodkinson, P. (2019). Is Dad OK?. Blog for NCT.
  13. Das, R. (2018). Social media and maternal perinatal wellbeing: Findings from fieldwork with new mothers. Surrey Sociology Blog. 
  14. Das, R & Hodkinson, P. (2018). Paternal mental health and social media: Early fieldwork reflections on disclosure, affective coding and disconnection. Blog for Surrey Sociology.
  15. Das, R. (2018). Maternal wellbeing and the internet: Balancing optimism and caution. Blog for Parenting for Digital Futures, LSE.
  16. Das, R. & Hodkinson, P. (2018). Fathers in the spotlight: Why this matters and why we are researching new fathers’ mental health. Blog for Surrey Sociology
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