Postpartum Depression: It Affects Fathers Too

October is National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month and an important time for new parents and parents-to-be to consider the signs and affects of postpartum depression (PPD) on both mom and dad.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) an estimated 5% to 25% of women will experience postpartum depression while research released earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that 10% of new fathers may also experience a form of it.

Due to the dramatic drop in hormones after giving birth, sleep deprivation or other stress factors such as breastfeeding difficulty, mothers can develop “baby blues” and eventually PPD, when the symptoms don’t go away after six weeks.  But while moms struggle with these factors, it’s often overlooked that dads do too.

Following the birth of a baby, many fathers take on new, sometimes stressful roles that come with little recognition or attention. On top of that, lack of sleep combined with concerns about mom having the baby blues or depression can actually trigger a father’s own feelings of depression.

Pay close attention to warning signs and contact a healthcare provider immediately if there are concerns. Here are some red flags that warrant attention:

  • A lack of interest in caring for baby
  • Prolonged anxiety or sadness
  • Excessive sleep or insomnia
  • Panic attacks
  • Irrational thoughts

If you are a new parent struggling with any of these symptoms of PPD, just know that there are others struggling with the exact same feelings–you aren’t alone. And there are hundreds of resources out there to help you get through it. Visit www.postpartum.net for more information.

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