Much has been written about postpartum depression - but always in reference to women. As it turns out, childbirth can also have a negative psychological effect on dads. MSNBC reports today on a meta-analysis appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association:
Analyzing 43 studies, involving 28,004 participants, [lead researcher James Paulson, PhD] and his colleagues tracked depression in fathers from the first trimester through the first year postpartum. The researchers also searched for evidence of publication bias - where null effects go unreported - and found the data likely reflects the general population accurately.
On average, the studies showed, 10.4 percent of new fathers became depressed during the gestational or postpartum period. In the subset of studies that looked at paternal well-being three to six months after the baby was born, 25.6 percent of fathers were depressed.
Among the possible reasons for a father's depression: anxiety, sleep deprivation, isolation from the outside world, and changes in the couple's relationship.
This Eastern Virginia Medical School release has more on the work, which is one of the first studies to look at the mental health of new dads.
Photo by Meagan