Come Up With A Sleeping Plan
The newborn stage is known for sleep deprivation, which is believed to play a role in female postpartum depression.7 It is likely that sleep loss also contributes to or worsens depression in men. To help address this problem, consider creating a sleep plan with your partner. Brainstorm ways that you might be able to schedule night-time feedings and diaper changes to maximize each persons sleep. For example, some families will assign the first feeding to the father and the second feeding to the mother, so that each partner can aim for a six to eight hour stretch.
Your options may be different depending upon whether you are breast or bottle feeding, but it can help to create a list of possibilities and choose one that seems the most beneficial to both of you. If you find that you are struggling with sleeping problems that are unrelated to the baby, bring up these concerns with your healthcare provider.
What Is Samhsa’s National Helpline
SAMHSAs National Helpline, , or TTY: is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.
New Babies Bring Big Emotions
Even if you did not go through the physical process of giving birth to your baby, your world still changed after that baby was born, affecting your sleep, stress, relationships, and more.
Renee Goff, licensed clinical psychologist says, can experience intense emotions watching what their partner went through to give birth, especially if it was a traumatic birth or if there were complications with the birth.
Following the birth, men can sometimes feel a decreased connection with their spouse as parenting instincts take over and the focus shifts to the baby and learning to care for that baby. This can lead to .
They are experiencing a change in the family dynamic, and oftentimes do not feel the strong connection that mothers may feel with their babies, therefore may have a sense of guilt, shame, or helplessness, says Blum. Some fathers also feel like they have to suppress these feelings to be there for their partner.
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Learn How To Breastfeed
Another thing to prepare for: how exactly are you going to feed this baby?
As LAist previously reported, its not easy:
There is no shortage of boob science about the nutritional benefits of breastmilk and its role in reducing the risk of developing things like diabetes and asthma in kids. For moms, it’s linked to a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancers. In short, it’s healthy.
There’s also no shortage of reasons why some women don’t breastfeed. Some women don’t want to do it. Some don’t because of work. For others, it’s not physically possible. It may not be an option at all for adoptive parents, women who’ve had surgery on their breasts or radiation, or who have hormonal conditions.
Many new parents shared their stories about the shock of realizing the magnitude of the difficulty of one of the most central human activities.
In the first few days, your boobs go through an incredible transformation. Whereas initially you might be panicking from the few drops of colostrum that drip out, all of a sudden, at day three to five when your milk comes in, your breasts are enormous and as hard as rocks.
I remember walking around with exposed giant, shiny, engorged boobs, says reader Katrina Valliere. I was so miserable from the pain. I tried pumping, warm showers on my back, cabbage leaves … Nothing worked but time.
And then, if you are trying to breastfeed, you have to figure out how to get that milk from your breasts into the baby.
Do I Need Health Insurance To Receive This Service
The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.
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Why Are The Causes Of Paternal Postpartum Depression
Biological men do not go through the physical aspect of childbirth, though the major lifestyle and mental changes that fathers go through can have a serious impact on someone’s mental health. Bringing a child into this world can be an extremely rewarding experience. On the flip side, parenthood also brings along increased levels of stress, overwhelming emotions, and exhaustion. These factors can cause fathers to experience hormonal changes, contributing to an increased risk of psychological illness.
A strong support system is key during the prenatal and perinatal periods of parenthood. In many cases, the father is lacking this or doesn’t know how to communicate their needs to their support system, contributing to an increased chance of developing postpartum depression symptoms.
There are many more factors that contribute to an increased risk of disease, these include:
- Low or lack of social support
- Low income or financial stress
- History of depression or anxiety
- Other mental illnesses, such as substance misuse
- Sleep deprivation
- Living in a separate household from the child
How To Address Postpartum Depression In Men
Perhaps one of the most important steps to take when aiming to improve symptoms of PPD in men is to remain aware of changes and to stay educated. Be able to spot red flags can make an immense difference in terms of outcomes not just in terms of the fathers mental health, but also the well-being of the child.
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What Good Postpartum Support Looks Like
Many countries and cultures have practices to ensure new parents get the rest they need after giving birth.
Theres the Latin American custom called la cuarentena, a period of 40 days of rest, or the Chinese zuo yue zi, or sitting the month, a month of staying inside the house, abiding by strict rules, and eating a special diet. Many countries have over a year of maternity leave or provide maternity nurses who visit your home.
But not here. In the United States, nearly one in four employed mothers return to work just two weeks after giving birth.
Our society is not set up to care for us and to give us time to care for our babies in the way that we need, says Dr. Sayida Peprah, a psychologist who specializes in maternal mental health. If you feel like you need more help, unapologetically get help. Don’t feel like you should be able to do this by yourself.
Our society is not set up to care for us and to give us time to care for our babies in the way that we need.
The gaps in our systems of care, however, are not destiny.
ThaooAishat HaSati, who is a birth worker and mother of five including a 2-month-old says she decided that with her youngest, she made a plan to have all of it.
A Note About Sex And Gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms male, female, or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. .
Postpartum depression is a depressive episode a person experiences after the birth of a baby. People commonly talk about in relation to females. However, males can also develop the condition.
The state that this is different from what is commonly known as the baby blues. Postpartum depression feelings last longer and are more intense.
Male postpartum depression can affect 1 in 10 new dads. Postpartum anxiety often occurs in addition to depression.
First-time dads may be the most vulnerable to male postpartum depression.
Male postpartum depression may not necessarily become immediately apparent. This could develop over the course of about a year.
There may be various causes for male postpartum depression. Below, we outline some of these possible causes.
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Addressing The Stigma Of Postpartum Depression In Men
Postpartum depression is rarely screened for in men and is believed to be underdiagnosed.5 This means that the rate of postpartum depression in men is likely higher than we think. There are several reasons for this. First, because postpartum depression is related to giving birth, many people falsely assume that men cannot be emotionally impacted by the transition to parenthood in the same way that mothers can.
Fathers are also less likely to be screened for postpartum depression by their healthcare providers. Women are typically screened in the hospital shortly after giving birth and again six weeks later. Even if a father does have an appointment scheduled with his healthcare provider, he is unlikely to be screened for postpartum depression unless he specifically brings up his symptoms.
Men may also experience stigma, which they can internalize. One study found that new fathers tended to endorse traditional gender expectations, like the image of a father as a tough guy.5 Depressed fathers may feel that they cannot share their feelings because they will be viewed as weak. As a result, they may avoid talking about these feelings with their partners, loved ones, and healthcare providers. Unfortunately, internalizing these beliefs and feelings may worsen depression and prevent a new father from getting help.
Ways To Cope With Male Postpartum Depression
If you are a new father dealing with postpartum depression, there are steps you can take to help yourself cope. Maintaining a connection with your support system, finding outlets to express yourself, and prioritizing your physical and mental health as a man can help you adjust to parenthood.
Here are nine tips for coping with male PPD:
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Risk Factors For Perinatal Depression Or Anxiety
For any gender, the rates of perinatal mood disorders are highest in poor and middle-income countries where access to mental health care and other support systems are limited.
When it comes to healthcare and paid family leave, the United States has a woeful track record compared to other high-income countries: It ranks lowest among the affluent countries in healthcare and is the only country out of 41 that doesnt guarantee paid family leave.
The experience of perinatal mental health is very much a biological, psychological, social, and anthropological issue, Singley says. Its not a matter of sex.
Myriad factors can contribute to perinatal mood disorders. Parents are losing sleep. Their relationship is changing. They may not have access to mental health care or be home with the baby. All of these can stress parents and result in mood disorders.
Not once was my husband asked these questions.
People who have a history of mood or anxiety disorders have an increased risk of developing them during the perinatal period, says Singley, who experienced a difficult birth.
Peter feels like the stress of his sons birth primed him for the depressive period that followed.
He was in the NICU for a month, Peter explains. By the time he got home, we had already been through the wringer.
Not once was my husband asked these questions, she writes.
When To Get Help
While it is normal to feel tired and anxious as a new parent, if youve been feeling really down and its getting too much then it is probably time to talk.
Realising you need help is one thing, but we know that telling someone else and getting that help can be really hard. No one will think you are weak for asking for support if you need it.
“I had already hit rock bottom I couldnt go any further down, I had nothing to lose by trying to get help. Surely things could only get better.”
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How Is Paternal Prenatal And Postpartum Depression Treated
Sometimes, self-help isnt enough. Professional treatment may be necessary. Using one or a combination of therapies may help fathers cope during pregnancy and the stressful postpartum period:
- Psychotherapy, or talk therapy
- Couples therapy, especially if both parents are depressed or the relationship is suffering
- Medication that works on the mind, behavior, or mood
- Complementary or alternative therapies, such as exercise, massage, or acupuncture
What Is Postpartum Depression In Men
Overwhelming sadness. An inability to find joy in life. A pervasive fear that youre a horrible parent. These are common symptoms of postpartum depression, a debilitating condition that affects thousands of new mothers every year in the United States. But women who have recently given birth arent the only ones who may experience these symptoms. Considerable research on postpartum depression in men shows that new fathers are also susceptible to this mental health concern.
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Dads And Partners Can Experience Depression In The First Year After Birth
The number of men who become depressed in the first year after becoming a dad is double that of the general population . Twenty five percent of dads experience mild depressive symptoms and around 10% to 12% have a diagnosis of depression .
First time dads are appear to be more vulnerable to postnatal depression than dads welcoming subsequent children .
Connect With Other Dads
Social support and connection with other people can help you cope with the adjustment to parenthood.3 Even if you do not talk openly about your experiences, spending time with others decreases isolation and loneliness. Try to plan an outing with a friend or see if there is a dads group in your area.
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How To Get Help For Male Postpartum Depression
You can start the process of getting help for postpartum depression by bringing up your symptoms with your physician. They can assess you for depression and provide you with a referral for treatment. You can also contact your health insurance company for a list of in-network mental health providers or conduct your own search through an online therapist directory. There are many mental health providers that specialize in treating postpartum depression and helping families adjust to parenthood.
The type of provider and treatment that you seek will depend upon what you are looking for. If you would like medication, you will want to search for a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner. For therapy, you can seek out a psychologist, social worker, counselor, or therapist. Depending upon their specialty, they may be able to provide individual, group, and/or couples therapy. Therapists may offer different approaches for treating postpartum depression depending upon their training and experience. You can inquire about what type of therapy they use to treat depression during your initial consultation.
Risk Factors Of Ppd In Men
Besides the symptoms above, please remain mindful of the following risk factors:
- History of depression
- Feeling excluded or jealous of mother-baby bonding
- Difficulty developing an attachment to the baby
The greatest predictor of a mans risk of depression is whether his partner is also depressed. Up to half of all men whose partners have PPD are depressed themselves. This can have devastating consequences.
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Dads Experience Postnatal Depression Too
In fact, up to one in 10 will.
Some of the risk factors that can make experiencing depression antenatally or postnatally more likely are if:
- youve experienced depression before, or
- your partners experiencing depression .
Other risk factors include things like relationship or money issues, a sick or premature baby, or if youre worried about your partner because shes had a tricky pregnancy, traumatic birth, or difficult recovery.
Theres also growing evidence that, just like mums, dads also experience hormone changes when their babys born that may negatively impact mental health.
Yes Men Can Get Postpartum Depression Here’s How To Get Help
- Men can get postpartum depression, even though it’s more commonly associated with women.
- Research has found that about 4% to 25% of new fathers experience postpartum depression after their child’s birth, and it’s 2.5 times more likely if their partner also has it.
- Here’s how to know if men have postpartum depression and what you can do to get help.
- This article was medically reviewed by Mayra Mendez, Ph.D., LMFT, a licensed psychotherapist at Providence Saint John’s Child and Family Development Center.
- This story is part of Insider’s guide to Depression.
Postpartum depression is more commonly associated with women, but up to a quarter of new fathers may also get it.
While men may not experience the same hormonal shifts women do after the birth of a child, other factors like lack of support or financial stress can negatively impact a father’s mental health.
Here’s what you need to know about what paternal postpartum depression looks like, and how to get proper help as a new father.
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When Men Get Postpartum Depression
Yes, men too can get depressed after the baby arrives. Learn to recognize the symptoms.
Mothers are not the only ones at risk of depression when the baby arrives. Postpartum depression strikes a lot of dads as well. A 2010 study found that 1 in 10 men gets depression either shortly before or after the arrival of a newborn. That’s only slightly lower than the rate among women. And researchers reported in April that young dads remain at higher risk of depression during the first few years of fatherhood.
While health professionals know it happens, they don’t know a lot about it, says Michael W. O’Hara, PhD. He’s a professor of psychology at the University of Iowa. “People have begun to look at postpartum depression in men over the past several years, but it’s still flying under the radar.”