A recent study found that new dads can get pos natal depression. Expectant fathers were at risk if they felt stressed or were in poor health. Elevated depression symptoms following their child’s birth were linked to social and relationship problems.
Around one in 25 men reported symptoms of postnatal depression while antenatal depression only affected about one in 50.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry investigated depression symptoms in more than 3,500 New Zealand men during the third trimester of their partner’s pregnancy and again nine months after their child’s birth.
Study author, Dr Lisa Underwood from the University of Auckland, says that while maternal antenatal and postnatal depression are recognised and known to be associated with poor outcomes for women and children, there has been little done to identify perinatal depression symptoms in men.
“In the present study of fathers, self-reported poor health and self-perceived stress during the pregnancy were consistently linked to paternal depression during the pregnancy,” she says.
“Additional risks only associated with paternal postnatal depression included a history of depression, unemployment, relationship status and family environments during the postnatal period. Of these, the strongest predictor of paternal depression was no longer being in a relationship with the child’s mother,” says Dr Underwood.
“Increasingly, we are becoming aware of the influence that fathers have on their children’s psychosocial and cognitive development. Given the potential for paternal depression to have direct and indirect effects on children, it is important that we recognise and treat symptoms among fathers early.
“Arguably, the first step in doing this is to raise awareness about factors that lead to increased risks among fathers themselves.”