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    How postpartum depression can affect new fathers

    Onset may be more insidious in men, with potentially serious short- and long-term consequences


    Once risk factors for depression are identified, interventions can focus on the stage-specific needs of men (prenatal or postnatal) and the suspected causes of depression (Birth 2009; 36:305-18). For example, the prenatal period may present an excellent opportunity to educate a father-to-be about the challenges of his shifting role from being a partner to being a parent. He may be referred to father-centered education programs where he could become more informed about birth and postpartum routines, infant medical conditions, and infant development.

    Read: Why are middle-aged Caucasian men dying earlier?

    He may also be given resources to facilitate awareness of paternal postpartum depression and to address the stigma that may be associated with it. The websites of Postpartum Support International and PostpartumMen include lists of helpful resources (www.postpartum.net/get-help/resources-for-fathers and http://postpartummen.com/resources/).


    In the postnatal period, the father may struggle balancing personal and work needs with the demands of being a parent. He may feel frustrated about his changing lifestyle and sexual relationship with his partner but also about not being able to be more involved in the care of his infant. During this period, referrals to enhance a positive relationship with his partner and positive parenting skills maybe very helpful. If significant depression is suspected, referral to a mental health professional for further evaluation and treatment with medication (eg, an SSRI) or psychotherapy should be considered.

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