New moms, dads show increased depression risk

Reuters Sep 14 2010
Depression is fairly common among parents of children younger than 12, with the risk being greatest in their children’s first year of life, a new study suggests. The findings, say researchers, bolster evidence that mothers are more vulnerable to developing depression soon after giving birth, versus other periods of their life. They also suggest that new fathers, a group much less studied than mothers, face a higher-than-normal depression risk as well. The study included nearly 87,000 UK couples whose medical records were followed starting from the birth of their child and for up to 12 years afterward. Over that time, 39 percent of mothers and 21 percent of fathers had at least one bout of clinical depression, based on diagnoses of depression or prescriptions for antidepressants in their medical records. For both parents, the risk was highest during the first year of their child’s life, the study found.