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Study Shows New Fathers Prone To Depression

Update Date: Feb 16, 2017 08:10 AM EST

Postpartum depression (PPD), which also called postnatal depression, occurs for both genders after childbirth. Some of its symptoms include low energy, reduced sexual desire, sadness, anxiety and changes in sleeping and eating patterns.

Statistics show that 0.5 to 61 percent of women will experience depression after delivery. On the other hand, between 1 to 25 percent of men experience postpartum depression. In the U.S., murders due to postpartum depression occurs at an estimated 8 per 100,000 childbirths which is one of the leading causes of deaths in children less than a year old.

Researchers have known pre and postpartum depression in mothers for a long time. But now, a research sheds light to the depression in fathers and the issues that might add to their risk of symptoms. According to The JAMA Network, fathers-to-be can also be at risk of having depression symptoms if they feel depressed or in a bad health condition. Depression symptoms can also occur after the baby is born.

The study involved 3,423 men in New Zealand from 2009 to 2010. These men were interviewed while their partners are still pregnant and nine months after the childbirth. The participants have an average age of 33 and whose partners are enrolled in New Zealand's longitudinal study titled Growing Up In New Zealand.

The researchers found out that 82 or 2.3 percent of participants experienced elevated prenatal depression symptoms. On the other hand, 153 men or 4.3 percent experienced postnatal depression symptoms.

Researchers also found out that depression symptoms were associated with adverse social and relationship factors and having depression history. But the study did have some limitations. Since men were interviewed only during third trimester of pregnancy and nine months after giving birth, the results might not reveal what could be discover during the first two trimesters or the period immediately after giving birth.

In 2015, a separate study consisted of 622 first-time fathers and found out that 13.3 percent displayed elevated levels of depression symptoms during the third trimester of their partner's pregnancy, as per CNN. The experiment was published at the American Journal of Men's Health. And similar to the new findings, marital relationship quality and stress are the dominant aspect of paternal depression.

Those men who are experiencing depression might result in the conflict of decisions in terms of prenatal care. It could also lead to isolation between both partners, as further discussed by CNN. 

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