The London Economic

Could dads also suffer from postnatal depression?

Fathers could also suffer from postnatal depression according to new research.

Being stressed about looming fatherhood and being unwell increases the risk of becoming depressed before the birth his child and up to nine months afterwards, according to the study.

A new study of men in New Zealand found 2.3 per cent get the blues during the last trimester of the pregnancy which nearly doubles to 4.3 per cent following the birth.

While fluctuations in hormones are to blame for most women’s postnatal depression, stress was to blame for a father feeling down before the birth.

But afterwards men are more likely to be depressed if stressed out before the arrival of their child, they had broken up, were ill or lost their job.

The NHS estimates one in ten women get postnatal depression.

Dr Lisa Underwood, a Research Fellow at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, said: “Nearly nine per cent of men report a lifetime presence of depression and 2.6 per cent report a depressive episode within the past year.

“Pregnancy and childbirth may be high risk periods for male depression.

“Yet, interest in perinatal depression has focused on women despite policies to improve the sex balance in research.

“Maternal perinatal depression is linked to physiological changes, for example hormone fluctuations.

“Expectant and new fathers also experience biological and ecological stressors, including changes to brain circuits, structure, and hormones, that can increase their risk of depression symptoms.

“Thus, some of the biological mechanisms underlying perinatal depression may increase the risk in both parents.”

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