The report revealed that though men do not realise that pregnancy-linked depression can affect them, expectant and new fathers who are in poor health or have high levels of stress are actually at increased risk of depression.
A research involving more than 3,500 men, average age 33, has shown that expectant dads, just like mothers, are prone to depression.
The men who were interviewed in the first trimester of their wives’ pregnancy were re-interviewed nine months after the birth of their child.
The result of the research showed that elevated depression symptoms were reported by 2.3 percent of the men during their partner’s pregnancy and by 4.3 percent of the men nine months after the birth of their child.
The post-birth symptoms were linked to being stressed during the pregnancy, being in a poor state of health or a prior history of depression and social factors like unemployment and no contact with the mother.
Experts in psychiatric care have expressed concern that the issue of depression in new fathers is understudied.
Tina Walch, a medical director at South Oaks hospital in Amityville, New York said, “While much is known about postpartum depression in women, far less information or attention has been paid to the role of paternal depression on the family unit.
“Understanding and spotting the signs of paternal depression early “is the first step toward prevention or early treatment and improved health outcomes for fathers, mothers and their children.”
Another expert, Ami Baxi who directs adult inpatient psychiatric services at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York agrees with Waltch.
“This study should emphasise the importance of paternal well-being during and after pregnancy,” and the importance of keeping expectant and new dads stress-free and healthy,” Baxi said.