Post-natal depression in fathers ‘often undiagnosed’

BBC News 18 May 2010

Many new fathers experience post-natal depression, yet most cases go undetected and untreated, experts warn. One in 10 new fathers may have the baby blues, US researchers believe – based on their trawl of medical literature. While this rate is lower than in new mothers, it is more than currently recognised, they told the Journal of the American Medical Association. Lack of sleep and new responsibilities, or supporting a wife with post-natal depression can be triggers, they say.

The Eastern Virginia Medical School team based their findings on 43 studies involving 28,004 parents from 16 different countries including the UK and the US. They found new fathers were generally happiest in the early weeks after the birth of their baby, with depression kicking in after three to six months. By this time, at least 10% and up to 25% had post-natal depression. And depression appeared to be shared – men were far more likely to be depressed if their partner also had post-natal depression.