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  • Writer's pictureAmy Dougley

Postpartum Depression in Dads

The experience of postpartum depression and anxiety or PPD for moms is under discussed but dads with this experience are even more rare. PPD in dads has been found to be linked to hormonal changes during pregnancy which helps to foster a father/child bond post birth. It is believed that the transition to parenthood may be inhibited if PPD is being experienced.

Statistics show that up to 10% of men struggle pre and post delivery of their baby. PPD effects adult functioning and the parent-child relationship, thus, it is imperative that we draw attention to and address experiences of PPD in dads.

 

Risk Factors for Dads Experiencing PPD

There are risk factors that may predict the likelihood of a dad experiencing PPD. Identifying

these risk factors early allows practitioners to address the possibility of PPD, resulting in support measures being put into place to preserve the parent-child bond.

Risk factors include:

·         Relationship challenges

·         General lack of support

·         Previous depression and anxiety

·         Stressful life events

·         Past trauma

·         Communication problems

·         Spousal depression


Symptoms of PPD in Dads

·         Isolation

·         Restlessness

·         Pessimism

·         Aggression

·         Irritability

·         Violence

·         Anxiety

·         Depression

·         Substance use

·         Anger


Barriers to Help Seeking

·         Inability to recognize symptoms of depression

·         Lack of knowledge about PPD

·         Societal stigma of mental health and men

·         Conforming to masculine norms

·         Lack of screening

·         Feelings of powerlessness in the new role as “father.”


Supporting Dads

If you are experiencing symptoms of PPD it is important to reach out to your health care

provider or mental health counsellor for support. Supporting someone you love may include

listening, encouraging the person to seek professional help and offering to help with the baby or daily tasks.

 

Resources

Barooj-Kiakalaee, O., Hosseini, S.-H., Mohammadpour-Tahmtan, R.-A., Hosseini-Tabaghdehi, M., Jahanfar, S., Esmaeili-Douki, Z., & Shahhosseini, Z. (2022). Paternal postpartum depression’s relationship to maternal pre and postpartum depression, and father-mother dyads marital satisfaction: A structural equation model analysis of a longitudinal

study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 297, 375–380.

 

Johansson, M., Benderix, Y., & Svensson, I. (2020). Mothers’ and fathers’ lived experiences of postpartum depression and parental stress after childbirth: A qualitative

study. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being, 15(1),

 

Paulson, J. F., & Bazemore, S. D. (2010). Prenatal and postpartum depression in fathers and its association with maternal depression. JAMA, 303(19), 1961.




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