May 18, 2010
A new study finds that postpartum depression doesn’t only affect mothers. New fathers are equally susceptible to the stresses of new parenthood — with 1 in 10 parents suffering from postpartum woes.
While women and their doctors are more educated to look out for the symptoms of postpartum depression, until now very little research has looked at the mental health of fathers. The new study which was published in the American Medical Association journal found that nearly 15% of men develop depression while their partner is either pregnant or one year after the birth of a child. The study also found that both men and women experience hormonal changes after pregnancy — with women experience a decrease in progesterone and estrogen while men also experience a sharp decrease in testosterone — which can be associated with depression.
Neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine told USA Today that “doctors need to be alerted that they’re treating the family as a unit” and suggests that doctors reach out to both parents about how they are coping with the changes new parenthood brings.