New dad can suffer postpartum depression, but their symptoms often differ from mums

It’s not just new mums who can suffer from postnatal depression following the birth of a child. Dads are just as susceptible.

Having a baby is a major life adjustment – mentally, physically and also financially. So no wonder some new dads find themselves feeling overwhelmed.

In fact, one in 10 new dads develop postpartum symptoms, such as feeling down, having mood swings or having difficult bonding with their baby.

However, a new study has found that symptoms in dads are different compared to mums.

New dad can suffer postpartum depression, but their symptoms often differ from mumsNew dad can suffer postpartum depression, but their symptoms often differ from mums

Postnatal depression in men

New research finds that dads and mums can get hit with postnatal depression at the same time.

More than 29,000 couples were analysed, three of every 100 couples experienced depression when their child was between the ages of two to 12 months.

One in 50 suffered from depressive feelings before the child was born and in the first 12 weeks.

Experts found that dads who are unemployed, have low education levels or have little social support are more susceptible to feeling depressed.

What’s more, when dads are anxious, mums are more likely to be depressed.

New dad can suffer postpartum depression, but their symptoms often differ from mumsNew dad can suffer postpartum depression, but their symptoms often differ from mums

Meanwhile, another study found that higher levels of testosterone protected men against developing postpartum depression.

These finds reiterate just how much BOTH parents need support after having a baby.

MORE than a third of DADS feel depressed after the birth of their first child, study finds

How to get past a traumatic birth so you can have another baby

Symptoms of PND

Due to the relentless, tiring nature of parenthood, some parents can experience some symptoms of PND without having PND.

So the diagnosis is dependent on how much symptoms interfere with daily life. Look out for persistent patterns of:

  • Anxiety surrounding the health or safety of the baby
  • Obsessive-compulsive thoughts or behaviours
  • Panic attacks are characterised by heart palpations, difficulty breathing, physically shaking
  • Unpredictable mood swings
  • Feeling depressed, teary or on edge for no reason
  • Losing interest in eating, socialising, being with family, your partner and baby
  • Lack of sleep or sleeping constantly
  • Getting angry or irritated easily
  • Feeling exhausted and having no energy
  • Lack of concentration
  • Participating in irresponsible and risky behaviour
  • Thoughts of harming yourself and/or your baby.

If you feel like you need help or know of someone who needs help, we advise you to see your GP asap or call PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) on 1300 726 306, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 for out of hours support.

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