Post-natal Depression (PND) is a type of depression experienced by parents, in the first year or so after having a baby.
Although it is commonly associated with mothers, did you know that as well as affecting women, PND can also affect dads and partners?
Important Facts You Should Know About Male Post-Natal Depression
What is Post-Natal Depression?
Postnatal depression is a type of depression that many parents can experience after having a baby.
It is usual for women feel a bit down, tearful, or anxious in the first week after giving birth. This is often called the ‘baby blues’ and shouldn’t last for more than about two weeks after giving birth.
However, the symptoms last longer, start later, or are more severe, then this could be postnatal depression. PND affects more than 1 in every 10 women within a year of giving birth.
PND can also affect fathers and partners. Statistics on PND in men show and the number of men who become depressed in the first year of parenthood is double that of figures for the general population.
Can Dads Get Post-Natal Depression?
While it’s the woman who experiences all the physical and hormonal changes of having a baby, and the focus in the post-natal period should be on the baby and mum, new dads and partners will also experience sleep-deprivation, the major life shift of becoming a parent, and the big changes – and potential worries – that this will bring.
It is important to be aware that dads can be significantly affected by depression in new parenthood, and to watch out for any sudden changes in behaviour or early symptoms of PND.
What Are The Symptoms of Post-Natal Depression In Dads?
Early symptoms of PND in dads can include:
- Sadness, confusion, helplessness, frustration, irritability, cynicism, and anger.
- Loss of interest in and withdrawal from family life, work, and social activities
- Increased alcohol and drug use
- Insomnia and interrupted sleep patterns
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Physical symptoms like shortness of breath, indigestion, headaches, toothaches, and nausea.
How And Where To Seek Help for PND In Dads
Lots of cases of PND in new fathers often go undiagnosed. But it is important to seek help as soon as possible if you think you, or your partner might be depressed. Symptoms could get worse, last for a while, and also have a significant impact on you, your baby and your family.
Speak to your GP or health visitor or encourage your partner to reach out and seek help. While it may seem daunting to take the big step and ask for help, remember that it is a common diagnosis and there is no shame for anyone in speaking out.
The NHS also has a list of mental health websites to offer help and support.