Wellness Wednesday: Dads can get postpartum depression too

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - Having a baby is a major life change and a big adjustment for the whole family.

Being a postpartum parent puts you at slightly higher risk of depression. We hear a lot about postpartum depression in moms, but did you know that dads can have it too? In fact, over 10 percent of new fathers experience depression compared to 4.8 percent of the general male population.

If a mother has postpartum depression, it may also increase the likelihood the father will have postpartum depression. In the 12 months following a child’s birth, it’s estimated rates of depression range from 24 to 50 percent for fathers whose spouse experiences maternal postpartum depression.

One of the biggest issues is that postpartum depression among males can easily go unrecognized or undiagnosed because people don’t expect it.

Some symptoms for postpartum depression in men might be similar to women’s symptoms, but others might be different.

Men who are dealing with postpartum depression may feel: 

  • Frustrated
  • Irritable
  • Detached
  • Angry
  • Impulsive

Men with postpartum depression may also be more likely to:

  • Engage in substance use or domestic violence
  • Feel excluded from mother-baby bonding
  • Discourage their partner from breastfeeding

Risk factors that can contribute to depression in new or soon-to-be fathers include:

  • Personal or family history of depression
  • Unemployment or feeling overwhelmed with expectations of your role as provider or father
  • Missing attention and/or sex from your partner
  • Feeling excluded from the bond between mom and baby
  • Lack of sleep after the baby is born
  • Stressful birthing experience, baby with special needs
  • Conflict between how you feel you should be as a man and how you are
  • Lack of social or emotional support

Where can you go for help if you need urgent mental health treatment for PPD or other issues?

LDS Hospital Behavioral Access Center

324 9th Avenue, Salt Lake City

Phone: 801-408-8330

CrisisLine: (801) 587-3000

Walk-in hours: daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Ages 18+

Outside of admitting hours, please go to your hospital emergency department. If your condition is not urgent, but depression is persisting, please see your primary care doctor for a referral.

For more information visit intermountainhealthcare.org or postpartumdads.org.

Sources:

https://www.postpartum.net/get-help/resources-for-fathers/chat-with-an-expert-for-dads/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20483973

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22362259

http://postpartum.org/services/dads/signs-of-ppd-anxiety-in-men/

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