New dads should be screened for depression, according to a new study.
American doctors who screened new fathers discovered 30 percent had postpartum depression.
Experts said that mothers’ and fathers’ mental health are intertwined, and tackling dads could help boost moms.
Fathers were screened using the same mental health tool as the mothers, after asking the latter’s permission.
Previous studies estimate eight to 13 percent of new fathers have postpartum depression.
Researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) believe their results were higher because nearly 90 percent of participants were from a racial or ethnic group that faces structural racism and prejudice that can harm their mental health.
Lead author Dr. Sam Wainwright said: “A lot of dads are stressed.
“They’re scared. They’re struggling with balancing work and parental and partner responsibilities.
“Men are often not doing well, but no one is asking them about it.
“A woman at risk for postpartum depression is much more likely to get postpartum depression if she has a depressed partner.
“How can we show them that it’s important to take care of yourself for the sake of your baby, for the sake of your partner, and for your own sake?”
The study was conducted at UI Health’s Two-Generation Clinic which opened in 2020 aiming to encourage mums to care for their own health as well as their new child’s – something that they often neglected to do, particularly those with fewer resources.
However, the team noticed the dads were left out of the process and when asked how they felt, the dads would often say comments like: “I’m really stressed, but I don’t want my partner to know because I’m here to support her.”
In light of the results, published in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, Dr. Wainwright is informally asking fathers-to-be how they feel in the obstetrics waiting area.
During these conversations, he is also asking to screen dads for conditions such as high blood pressure.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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