Can Dads Get Postpartum Depression Too?

Despite the increased risk of depression for fathers both before and after their child's birth, many dads aren't screened or educated about depression, and that's something that needs to change. According to CNN, dads are more likely to experience symptoms of depression if they are under stress or if their health is suffering - and those symptoms can surface both before and after their child's birth. Their symptoms were ranked on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, a screening tool that's also used in women who've given birth. These things can add up, she says, and they can pile on to other stressors that already exist in a man's life.

"Discussing the risks of depression with expectant mothers and fathers would provide information about where to seek help and social support should one of them develop symptoms", the authors wrote.

Those symptoms can sometimes be severe - 20 percent of women with postpartum depression reported having suicidal thoughts in a study published published in JAMA Psychiatry in 2013.

The findings showed that apart from depression during the third trimester of their partners' pregnancy, they can also suffer post-partum depression - that occurs after childbirth - similar to women who gave birth, even though their bodies do not go through the same sort of changes.

As someone who suffered from postpartum depression, I feel like it's tempting to side-eye research that tries to compare PPD to anything men might experience.

"When you think that there are 60,000 New Zealand births each year, we're talking about almost 1400 children affected, potentially, by anti-natal paternal depression and more than 2500 New Zealand children affected by paternal post-natal depression, each year". They found that over 4% of new fathers experienced increased depression symptoms during the postpartum period. Why? "The lack of screening for paternal depression in New Zealand mirrors the global situation", explained the study's lead author Lisa Underwood.

The NHS estimates one in ten women get postnatal depression.

Stress, poor health and relationship problems put men at higher risk.

"Given the potential for paternal depression to have direct and indirect effects on children, it is important that we recognize and treat symptoms among fathers early", she said.

Researchers don't know why some women are more vulnerable to postpartum depression, though they suspect genetics, previous mental health issues, and sleep deprivation after birth all could play a part.

While pre-natal and post-natal depression has been examined extensively in mothers, fathers were often left out in the cold, an Auckland University study says.

What women experience, men might also experience while the partner is pregnant.

 

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