In recent years, we have seen a much-needed light shined on the difficulties women often face struggling with postpartum depression (PPD). When we think about the physical changes and life adjustments we make when having a new baby, it is no wonder we sometimes face these mental challenges. But a new study suggests dads are also at greater risk from suffering depression before and after welcoming a new member into the family.
The Daily Mail reports about the new study published in JAMA Psychiatry that finds men are more likely to suffer mental stresses during their partner’s pregnancy and after baby is born. Researchers found that possibly the stresses of becoming a new father are responsible for the 2.3% of dads-to-be who face depressive symptoms before their child is born.
Though 2.3% may sound like a small percentage (especially when roughly 20% of U.S. women suffer PPD) researchers found that this number doubles to 4.3% for dads during the 9 months after baby is born. Though we often consider the hormonal and physical changes women go through from carrying a baby, giving birth and breastfeeding lead author of the study, Lisa Underwood explains that men may be experiencing similar changes during this period.
Dr. Underwood says, “Maternal perinatal depression is linked to physiological changes, for example hormone fluctuations. Expectant and new fathers also experience biological and ecological stressors, including changes to brain circuits, structure, and hormones, that can increase their risk of depression symptoms.” She adds, “Thus, some of the biological mechanisms underlying perinatal depression may increase the risk in both parents.”
Have you or someone you loved suffered from PPD?
What do you think of the new study that suggests men are more prone to depression right before and after becoming a new dad?