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Men Could Also Develop Postpartum Depression Associated to Partner's Pregnancy

Feb 17, 2017 05:02 AM EST
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A new study from New Zealand revealed that men can also experience a kind of depression that typically affects women during and after their pregnancy.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Psychology, showed that men also suffer from elevated depression symptoms during the last trimester of their partners and months after their baby was born.

For the study, the researchers followed 3,523 expecting couples. Men were asked to complete a interviews during their partner's pregnancy and nine months after the birth of their child.

Overall, about 2.3 percent of the men experience elevated depression symptoms during the third trimester of their partners. The number of men experiencing elevated depression symptoms rose to 4.3 percent nine months after their babies were born.

READ: Weird Pregnancy: Baby's Extended Legs Poked Through Mother's Uterus and Still Lived

Unlike the postpartum depression experienced by women, which were more likely to be caused by raging hormonal and physiological changes, the elevated depression symptoms experienced by men during and after the pregnancy were associated to external factors, including stress and relationship status.

According to the report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in eight women in the U.S. experiences postpartum depression. On the other hand, approximately four percent of fathers experience depression in the first year after their child's birth.

In a report from Health, Gail Saltz, M.D., contributing psychology editor of the magazine, said "Joyful events, like having a baby, can still be stressful for everyone involved. There's the added feeling of responsibility, of being a provider, the changes in your relationship dynamic. And when the baby is born, you both have sleep deprivation on top of that."

Dr. Saltz, who was not involved in the study, noted that the additional stressors due to birth of their child could pile up on the other stressors experienced by men in their day-to-day lives.

Aside from typical symptoms of depression, patient with postpartum depression may present crying more than usual, feelings of anger, withdrawal from loved ones, feeling numb or disconnected from the baby, worrying that he/she might hurt the baby and feeling guilty about not being a good parent to the baby.

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