Postnatal Depression Affects Fathers Too

Postnatal depression has traditionally been seen as a condition that affects mothers.  However, research suggests that the condition is not restricted to mums.  A study by Paulson in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2010 found that roughly 10% of men became depressed during their partner’s pregnancy or after birth – not much lower than the rate of 13-14% seen in new mothers.  Interestingly, postpartum depression seems to develop more slowly in men than in women and is most prevalent between 3 and 6 months after birth, whereas women tend to experience its onset within a matter of weeks.

Although the causes of postnatal depression differ slightly between men and women, with hormonal changes playing a bigger role in mothers, the effects are similar regardless with the potential to create problems at work, with relationships and also have a detrimental impact on father-child bonding.  This in turn can have effects on child development.  Studies have shown that the children of fathers with untreated postnatal depression may suffer from language delay and emotional and behavioural problems in the long term.

So the message is – ‘sometimes dads need help too”.  Please see your doctor if you have persistent low mood, fatigue, appetite changes, feelings of worthlessness or loss of interest/enjoyment in things you previously found pleasurable.  Help is at hand for you too …..