New Dads Risk Postpartum Depression Too

The stereotypical man does not ask for help. He is the “King of the Castle”: mowing the yard, working on the car, running the remote control, and never asking for directions. They suffer in silence, not asking for emotional help either.

Men might not go through the bodily changes and mood swings of pregnancy, but they do risk similar depression after the birth of the child. A paper published in JAMA Psychiatry states that over four percent of new fathers have increased symptoms of depression after their child is born. Postpartum depression in men is a new idea. Raising awareness and screenings can catch the depression early so treatment can begin.

In the new study, 3,500 men in New Zealand with pregnant partners were screened before and after the birth of the child. Causes of men’s depression may be being in poor health to start with, no longer being in a relationship with the mother, unemployment, and history of depression. Symptoms range from anger and anxiety to hopelessness and trouble bonding with the baby. About 14 percent of women have depression after birth, with 20 percent of those having suicidal thoughts. Causes of women’s depression are caused by mental health issues, sleep deprivation, and hormonal changes. Estrogen and progesterone plummet after birth, as well as thyroid hormones, which can cause symptoms of depression.

Men don’t have these hormonal changes. Their symptoms are driven by stress, anxiety, and worry. However, men are hesitant to ask for help. New fathers express feelings of guilt while at work, not able to support their partner during the day. They also find difficulties about not having enough time at home to bond and experience “firsts” with their newborn. This could increase symptoms of depression.
Thielking, Megan. “Dads, like moms, are at risk of depression after a child’s birth, researchers report.” Health. STAT, 15 Feb 2017. Web. 16 Feb 2017.

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