Becoming a parent, especially for the first time, is a life-altering experience. It involves a lot of sleepless nights, a significant disruption of free time, and the responsibility of caring for a completely helpless new life for months. This can be a very stressful period for both mother and father.
Postpartum depression is a type of depression that sets in around six weeks after childbirth and can significantly impact a woman’s ability to function normally and care for her baby. It affects approximately 6.5% to 20% of women who have given birth. To ensure early diagnosis and prompt treatment, all women should be screened for postpartum depression. Women suffering from this condition may require psychotherapy and sometimes medication to help them overcome it.
But what about new dads? Do they get the same feelings and can they also suffer from postpartum depression?
The answer is yes. Up to one in 10 men will experience postpartum depression around two to three months after the birth compared to one in seven women. Signs of postpartum depression in men may manifest itself by men showing more anger and risk-taking behaviors. In contrast, women are more likely to display crying, loss of interest in the baby, guilt, and hopelessness. Men can become very stressed after the birth of a baby as they try to balance work and being a new parent and be a loving partner with their wife who has given birth.
Since men also can develop postpartum depression, should new dads also be screened for it since most men are not asked how they are doing?
A study published in the journal BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, suggest men should be screened since if there health and well-being is good, that is vital for improving if the mother is struggling with postpartum depression.
The goal of this study was to get the conversation going about helping men stay mentally and emotionally healthy to support the relationship between the couple to improve. The study recommends reminding men to take of themselves too for the new mother and their baby.
Most men will refrain from voicing how they feel in order to be of support for their partner who may be experiencing postpartum depression. But, this study points out that men should express how becoming a parent is for them and what they are worried about the most.
Other important takeaways from this study found that screening for postpartum depression tended to prompt men to become more engaged with their healthcare provider and to seek regular healthcare visits. Men often neglect their health by avoiding doctor visits or annual physicals. However, this study aims to build a model for supporting healthy, well-adjusted families by making sure dad is healthy too. It is projected that expanding screening for men with this condition, will help reduce family dysfunction and improve the overall home life of new families in general.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.