Even Dads Get Post Natal Depression
Many new fathers experience post-natal depression, yet it usually goes undetected and so untreated.
US researchers believe that as many as one in 10 new dads may have the 'baby blues'. While this rate is clearly lower than in new mothers, it is more than experts previously thought.
Lack of sleep and new responsibilities, or supporting a wife with PND can trigger Post Natal Depression in men, they told the Journal of the American Medical Association. The Eastern Virginia Medical School team based their findings on 43 studies involving 28,004 parents from 16 different countries including the UK and the US.
They found that new dads were generally happiest in the early weeks after the birth of their new baby, with depression beginning to take effect after three to six months. By this stage, at least 10% to 25% had post-natal depression. The men were far more likely to be depressed if their partner also suffered from post-natal depression.
Dr James Paulson and Sharnail Bazemore, wholed the research, said more efforts should be made to reach at-risk fathers, particularly as more and more evidence suggests that early paternal depression may have significant emotional, behavioural and developmental effects on children.
"Becoming a parent is one of the biggest changes that both men and women can go through ....... New parents can be faced with sleep deprivation, changes in lifestyle, changes in their relationship and new responsibilities all at once, and we don't always remember that this is going to be an issue for men as well as for women."
But Ellie Lee, a lecturer in social policy at Kent University, said it was important not to medicalise normal emotions.
"It is, of course, essential to diagnose and treat serious clinical depression. But there is a tendency to overuse medical labels. What is interesting is that saying men have post-natal depression severs the link with biology. Men have not been pregnant, had the hormonal surges or given birth."
She said modern men were put under other strains and that this could be a stressful experience for them. "It is no longer good enough to just be the bread-winner. They have to be engaged and involved. They are expected to abstain from alcohol, attend every scan and 'feel the pain' of birth."