A study performed by researchers at the University of Auckland found that fathers can also experience pre- and postnatal depression. They are more likely to be affected if they are very stressed or sick. Also, the symptoms can worsen after the birth of the child.
It is well-known that hormone changes that occur in pregnant women can cause them to experience pre- and postnatal depression. It appears that they are not the only one who can experience such symptoms.
The experts at the University of Auckland in New Zealand performed a study that looked at 3,532 male participants who were about to become fathers soon. Also, their average age was 33. The researchers interviewed them both before and after their child was born. The study took place in 2009 and 2010 and looked if symptoms typical of pregnant women or new mothers were also present in their partners.
The researchers asked the men questions on their family environment, stress, and overall health. Their results found that 82 fathers, which represents roughly 2.3 percent, showed accentuated symptoms of prenatal depression. The interviews taken after the births found 153 of them (4.3 percent) who were experiencing postnatal depression.
Lisa Underwood, the lead researcher, said that previous studies on depression on new fathers had similar results. The most common symptoms among men were caused by adverse relationships or history of depression in the family. They noticed that the fathers were not affected by other factors that might cause the onset of depression, such as unplanned parenthood, anxiety, or ethnicity.
However, the study has its limitations. The researchers performed only a basic review of depression symptoms so they cannot put an exact diagnose. Also, the interviews took place only during the first three months of pregnancy and nine months after the child was born. Thus, they cannot tell what other symptoms the participants experienced in the meantime.
This study is some sort of prototype and its purpose is to help doctors develop a better screening system to identify prenatal depression or postnatal depression in fathers. Also, they want to suggest the importance of diagnosing it just in time and make people aware of the fact that fathers can experience postnatal depression, too. If left untreated, it can have a huge impact on their family life.
Image Source: Pixabay