The government has pledged £25m to help improve maternity wards.

The cash can be used to create ensuites, rooms where partners can stay overnight or other facilities such as birthing pools.

Ministers also plan to expand the online information service for new parents.

At present, the NHS Information Service for Parents provides advice about pregnancy and having a baby up to six months old, but the service is to be expanded to include information about infants until they are 18 months.

The service includes material on postnatal depression so that women and their partners can spot the signs of the condition.

Health minister Dan Poulter said: “A new arrival in the family is a joyous time but can present challenges for mums and families, particularly new families. I want to help women and their partners as much as possible.

“Women with postnatal depression need care and support, not stigma. That’s why early diagnosis for this traumatic condition and support for parents is so important.

“There will now be £25m available to improve maternity facilities but not a penny of this will be given out unless there is evidence that women have been asked about the changes they want in their local areas.

“Whether it’s more ensuite facilities, overnight rooms for dads, birthing pools or other improvements to the care and experience of women during pregnancy and childbirth.

“Over 73,000 parents have signed up to the Information Service for Parents since May 2012, this extension will help us to support parents for longer.”