New Dads Also Susceptible to Postpartum Depression, Scientists Reveal

Being stressed about looming fatherhood and being unwell increases the risk of becoming depressed scientists claim

Additional post-natal risks included a history of depression, unemployment and - the strongest predictor - no longer being in a relationship with the child's mother. About 2.3% of the men had elevated depression symptoms during their partners' third trimesters, and that number rose to 4.3% when their babies were nine months old.

The questions were about family environment, stress, and overall health.

Study author Dr Lisa Underwood said that while maternal antenatal and postnatal depression were recognized and known to be associated with poor outcomes for women and children, little had been done to identify perinatal depression symptoms in men. I ended up being diagnosed with postpartum depression (PPD), which is disturbingly common among moms.

Researchers at the University of Auckland interviewed a diverse group of 3,500 men, all of whom had pregnant partners.

By comparison, earlier figures found one in eight mothers experienced depression symptoms during pregnancy, with one in 12 experiencing symptoms post-natally.

But afterwards men are more likely to be depressed if stressed out before the arrival of their child, they had broken up, were ill or lost their job.

These rates are lower than those of postpartum depression in women, which the authors previously reported at 8% in New Zealand.

In 2015, a separate study consisted of 622 first-time fathers and found out that 13.3 percent displayed elevated levels of depression symptoms during the third trimester of their partner's pregnancy, as per CNN.

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"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".

According to the researchers, it may have to do with men's level of health and perceived stress in cases where depression symptoms were high during their partner's pregnancy.

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.

"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.

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

There are around 700,000 births a year in the United Kingdom, meaning some 16,000 men may be suffering from prenatal depression, and 30,000 from postnatal.

University of Auckland research fellow Lisa Underwood, who led the study, said, "The rates of antenatal and postnatal paternal depression that we found are consistent with previous similar studies in other countries including the USA".

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