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Even fathers get the blues

Author Alex Bellamy
Submitted 16-10-2008

An expectant father can run himself ragged by trying to be a perfect partner for his pregnant wife, because he knows that everything will be fine once the baby is born, right?

That is not every dad’s experience. A report on CNN.com raises awareness about the fact that new mothers are not the only ones who may suffer from postnatal depression – fathers may be at risk, too.

Will Courtenay, a leading expert on postnatal depression, told the news provider that although all new dads suffer from a certain level of worry and uncertainty, some have stronger reactions.

"This comes as quite a shock to men who are expecting this wonderful time of baby bliss with the new baby and a time of bonding," he explained.

Courtenay suggested that sleep deprivation can play a role in depression, as can a change in hormones as new dads’ levels of testosterone diminish, while estrogen rises.

Money and relationship problems may also put pressure on a man’s mental health, while a sick or colicky baby does not help either.

Courtney’s parenting advice for men suggests they seek help immediately if they suspect they are suffering from depression, while those who have a history of this type of illness may want to have counseling before the baby is even born.

Research published in Pediatrics in 2006 suggests that around 10 percent of dads suffer from postpartum depression.