While a lot of research has been done on post-partum depression among women, new fathers have often been overlooked. A new study from New Zealand, says new dads can experience similar symptoms during the pregnancy and after the birth of their child.
Expectant and new fathers who are in poor health or have high levels of stress are at increased risk for depression, the research showed.
"It is important to recognize and treat symptoms among fathers early and the first step in doing that is arguably increasing awareness," said a team led by Lisa Underwood of the University of Auckland.
The study involved more than 3,500 men. The average age was 33 years old. They were interviewed when their partner was in her third trimester of pregnancy and then again, nine months after the birth of their infant.
Elevated depression symptoms were reported by 2.3 percent of the men during their partner's pregnancy and by 4.3 percent of the men nine months after their child was born, Underwood's team found.
Men who were under a lot of stress or in poor health experienced elevated depression symptoms, the findings showed.
Other, social or relationship factors such as no longer being in a relationship with the mother and/or unemployed also increased the odds for being depressed after their newborn arrived, the study authors noted.
Other mental health experts agree that depression in new dads is understudied and not often considered when dads are feeling the nervousness of welcoming a child into the household.
Dr. Tina Walch, medical director at South Oaks Hospital in Amityville, N.Y., noted that understanding and spotting the signs of paternal depression early "is the first step toward prevention or early treatment and improved health outcomes for fathers, mothers and their children."
More often than not, moms-to-be garner most of the attention during and after the birth of a child. They are after all, the one carrying and delivering a newborn in to the world. Dads have frequently been overlooked during the whole process. Not only do new moms sometimes need help with post-partum depression or just dealing with the overwhelming responsibility that comes with having a child, dads do too. If they seek help and reach out for support, the family unit can be better for it.
The study was recently published online in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
Story source: Robert Preidt, http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20170216/hey-fellas-depression-can-strike-expectant-and-new-dads-too