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Baby blues: Study finds expectant Dads also subject to depression

By Marcus Hondro     Oct 5, 2015 in Health
In a study from Canada's Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, researchers found that men, too, can suffer depression prior to becoming a parent. The number of expectant fathers who experience depression are significant.
Depression and Dads
This isn't an area of study scientists have pursued much before, unlike the study of pre-birth depression in the people actually giving birth, the mothers, where over 10 percent of expecting women have long been shown to suffer some degree of depression during their pregnancy.
As Montreal Gazette reporter Jesse Feith notes, the new study out of McGill on expectant fathers and depression is the first of its kind in Canada. The numbers? The study found 13.3 percent of fathers experience "elevated levels of depressive symptoms" during their spouse's pregnancy.
Deborah Da Costa, study lead author, noted these numbers take on added importance because they could mean expectant fathers suffering from depression will, like many women expecting and suffering from depression, have mood issues once baby is born. As many as 80 percent of women will suffer from a degree of postpartum depression, or 'baby blues.'
“It’s important because we know depression during pregnancy, in women for instance, is the strongest predictor of depression in the postpartum and it’s likely to be the case here as well,” Da Costa said.
Dealing with Depression
The research team tested 622 Quebec men for 18 months, asking questions throughout on how they were feeling, the activities they were engaging in, social support levels and even the degree of financial stress they were experiencing.
Da Costa said men feeling depressed should seek help because "when dad’s depressed, it has an impact on not only him and his quality of life, but it has an impact on his interactions with his partner, and eventually on the child."
She said that, as with expectant mothers, through dealing with depression expectant fathers can learn about their emotional world and how they can move toward feeling well.
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