NZ study: Dads get the baby blues, too

NZ Herald 16 February 2017
Family First Comment: Study author Dr Lisa Underwood said that while maternal ante-natal and post-natal depression were recognised and known to be associated with poor outcomes for women and children, there had been little done to identify peri-natal depression symptoms in men.

Pre- and post-natal depression has been studied exhaustively in mothers but a new study of 3500 Kiwi men has revealed how dads are also affected by the baby blues.

Using participants from the longtitudinal Growing Up In New Zealand study, University of Auckland researchers discovered that 2.3 per cent of fathers experienced depression during their partners’ pregnancy and the figure climbed to 4.3 per cent nine months after their child was born.

Fathers most at risk of depression symptoms either felt stressed or were in poor health, although post-natal depression was also influenced by relationship factors.

Although paternal depression could not induce harm to the fetus, it could still affect the psychosocial and cognitive development of their children.

The researchers behind the study, published todayThursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, now hope to increase awareness among fathers about the risk of increased depression.
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