Post-natal depression affects dads too
Post-natal depression in women gets attention from health professionals and the research community. How pregnancy and the time after birth can affect fathers is less studied. Just like the mother, expectant and new fathers also experience stressors that can increase their risk of depression.
New Zealand researchers identified characteristics linked with depression symptoms among men whose partners were pregnant and subsequently gave birth.
The research involved more than 3,500 men interviewed during the third trimester of their partner’s pregnancy. Nine months later, the men took part in another interview.
Rates of paternal depression came in at around two percent in the antenatal period and four percent in the postnatal period. A doubling in antenatal depression risk was observed in men who reported their health to be in a poor to fair state during their partner’s pregnancy. Having a high level of perceived stress also increased the risk of depression.
For the post-natal period, being in fair to poor heath, having a relationship breakdown, becoming unemployed and having a history of depression all raised the risk of depression.
Acknowledging that men are also affected by depression around the time of pregnancy and after and knowing the factors that can increase the risk are important steps towards treating depression early in new dads.
Last Reviewed: 08/01/2020
© Norman Swan Medical Communications.
Underwood L et al. Paternal depression symptoms during pregnancy and after childbirth among participants in the growing up in New Zealand Study. JAMA Psychiatry Epub online February 15, 2017. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.4234.
Anxiety and depression in pregnancy and early parenthood
Anxiety and depression in pregnancy and early parenthood is serious, this article addresses the signs and symptoms of antenatal and postnatal depression and anxiety and where you can get help.
Whether you are thinking about having a baby for the first time or have been pregnant before, with a little planning you can give yourself the best chance of a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for depression
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are medicines used to treat depression and anxiety. In fact, they are the most commonly prescribed type of antidepressant medicine in Australia.
Antidepressants are medicines that can treat depression and its symptoms. They can also sometimes be used to treat other conditions, including anxiety disorders and chronic (ongoing) pain.
Tricyclic antidepressants (also called tricyclics or TCAs) are named for their chemical structure (3 rings). They can be used to treat depression, anxiety disorders and chronic pain.