Postpartum depression may affect men too: researchers say

   New dad depression is linked to stress during pregnancy

123RF New dad depression is linked to stress during pregnancy

"Given that paternal depression can have direct or indirect effects on children, it is important to recognize and treat symptoms among fathers early, and the first step in doing that is arguably increasing awareness among fathers about increased risks", the study says.

Of the more than 3,500 men studied, symptoms of depression were strongest in those going through social and relationship problems.

Around one in 25 men reported symptoms of postnatal depression while antenatal depression only affected about one in 50. And when their partner gave birth, the men experienced higher levels of depression possibly due to not being in a relationship with the mother anymore, being unemployed, as well as having a history of depression aside from perceived stress and the kind of health they were in at the time.

With celebrity mums from Adele to Hayden Panettiere opening up about their struggles with postpartum depression, we've finally reached an era in which the surprisingly common condition is out of the shadows and into the public eye.

New baby depression is not exclusive to women, but can affect men as well, according to New Zealand research.

The researchers found elevated symptoms of prenatal depression in 82 fathers, or 2.3 per cent of the total participants. Men also experience this.

"As in many other countries, New Zealand women are assessed for postnatal depression following childbirth", says Dr Underwood.

20% of females experience post partum depression. A 2015 report in the American Journal of Men's Health showed up to 13 percent of new dads report depressive symptoms, like agitation, anxiety, sadness, and stress, which are typically associated with the "baby blues" - the intense period of hormonal fluctuation moms experience after giving birth.

Research fellow and the study's author Lisa Underwood of Auckland University said there should be a focus on both the mother and father's mental health.

Although a pregnant woman's hormones are fluctuating and her body is changing in a way that could contribute to depression, men also go through changes.

Causes of the ADS and PDS might include poor health and stress.

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. In the USA, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology also recommends that women be screened at least once during the perinatal period.

"Only relatively recently has the influence of fathers on children been recognized as vital for adaptive psychosocial and cognitive development", said the researchers.

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