Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Postpartum Depression Strikes New Fathers Too

By Alice Park Tuesday, May. 18, 2010

Postpartum depression is a familiar rite of new parenthood. Feelings of emptiness, sadness and anxiety settle in after the birth of a child, and in severe cases last for months. It turns out that this common condition, once considered the province of the mother, may affect many new fathers too.

Researchers at Eastern Virginia Medical School, publishing an analysis of 43 past studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Tuesday, report that up to 10% of fathers may experience postpartum depression (PPD) after the birth of a child. That figure comes as a surprise, even to the authors, who had been studying paternal PPD for several years, especially because it doubles the average risk of depression found in the male population in general — which is only about 5%. "It is surprising and novel that the rate is much higher than most people would guess or expect," says study author James Paulson. "This is a condition that is not recognized by many folks. Postpartum in men is an alien concept to most people."

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