Post-partum depression can be a common condition in many mothers, which they rely on the support from their partner to overcome it. However, a new study has found that new dads can also be affected by depression, before or during the pregnancy of their partner.
Previous studies have been mostly focused on studying maternal depression, in order to better recognize it and treat it before it has any major impact on the life of the family. The research has been very valuable as it had various positive health effects for both the mother and the baby.
However, researchers believe that discovering the symptoms of depression in new dads can also have health benefits for their family, overall. The new study, one of the largest one yet involving both prenatal and postnatal depression in fathers, included over 3,500 men. The study was part of the Growing Up in New Zealand project, and its results were published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
According to the researchers, other previous studies found that around 20 percent of mothers experience either postnatal or prenatal depression. They believe that the condition is caused by different hormonal changes or external factors in cases where the pregnancy was not planned, domestic violence, or when the mother does not have social or relationship support.
The study involving depression in new dads revealed that only 2.3 percent of all participants suffered from prenatal depression, while 4.3 percent became depressed after the birth of their child. This is a significantly lower rate than that of women, but it can still have major public health consequences, according to Lisa Underwood, a research fellow at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Researchers found that depression in new dads could strain the overall family relationship in various ways, either emotional or financial hardships, as well as caused cognitive development issues in the child such as behavior or emotional problems.
In the United States, more than 4 million babies are born each year. Therefore, even the small percentage of new dads who are or will become depressed will lead to a significant number of affected individuals and babies, as a consequence.
What do you think about the study’s findings?
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