First-time fathers can also experience the baby blues
Research suggests first-time expectant fathers can also suffer from baby blues.
More than 13 percent of expectant dads showed high levels of depressive symptoms during their wife’s third trimester of pregnancy, according to a study published in the American Journal of Men’s Health.
“This isn’t anything new,” says Dr. Carol Korzen, an obstetrician/gynecologist at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Ill. “It’s something everyone should be aware of, but oftentimes the expecting fathers aren’t with the moms when the preventative depression education is taking place.”
Researchers from McGill University surveyed 622 first-time expectant fathers in Quebec, Canada by asking them to fill out online questionnaires measuring physical activity, sleep quality, social support, marital adjustment, life events, financial stress and demographics. To assess depressed mood, the study used the Edinburgh Depression Scale.
Factors associated with the participants increase in depressive symptoms included poorer sleep quality, family history of psychological difficulties, lower perceived social support, poorer marital satisfaction, more stressful life events in the preceding six months, greater number of financial stressors and elevated maternal antenatal depressive symptoms.
Researchers said the findings highlight the importance of including fathers in the screenings and early prevention efforts targeting depression during the transition to parenthood, which to date have largely focused only on women.
“This study shows the importance of involving men in these mental conversations,” says Dr. Korzen. “These expectant mothers and fathers need to know the possibility of these depressive symptoms, and reach out to their physicians to get educated.”
Strategies to promote better sleep, manage stress and mobilize social support may be important areas to address in interventions tailored to new fathers at risk for depression during the transition to parenthood, according to the study.
To learn more about men’s health, visit ManUpAtAdvocate.com. On the site, men can make same-day appointments, find helpful tips and screening information and also find a doctor.
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