A new study indicates that expectant and new dads also experience depression, not just moms-to-be, WebMD reports.
The study, conducted by researchers in New Zealand, suggests that depression surrounding pregnancy is not uncommon in men, but that most men do not realize they can be affected by it.
“It is important to recognize and treat symptoms among fathers early and the first step in doing that is arguably increasing awareness,” the research team at the University of Auckland said.
Lisa Underwood led the research team. Under her leadership, researchers interviewed more than 3,500 men with an average age of 35. The men were first interviewed during their partners’ third trimester and re-interviewed nine months after birth.
According to study results, 2.3 percent of participants experienced increased symptoms of depression during their partner’s third trimester, while 4.3 percent showed symptoms nine months after birth.
Findings showed that men who were in poor physical health or stressed were at increased risk of developing symptoms of depression.
Fathers stressed during the pregnancy were more likely to report depression symptoms once their child was born.
There were other common factors that reportedly contributed to a new father’s depression. For instance, fathers who were estranged from their child’s mother or unemployed were more likely to experience elevated depression symptoms.
Dr. Tina Walch, medical director at South Oaks Hospital in New York, said, “Far less information or attention has been paid to the role of paternal depression on the family unit.”
This study, aimed at providing more understanding on paternal depression, “is the first step toward prevention or early treatment and improved health outcomes for fathers, mothers, and their children,” Walch proclaimed.