Baby blues can hit dads too

Australian dads-to-be are being asked to share their feelings and experiences as part of a study to find the triggers for ante and postnatal depression in men.

Not a lot is known about depression in men after the birth of a baby, so is it likely that many are suffering in silence, said Dr Helen Skouteris, Deakin psychology senior research fellow.

“Depression in men, pre- and post-birth, is not commonly recognised or talked about,” Dr Skouteris said.

“Keeping an eye on the mother’s health is a common and essential part of pregnancy, however it is equally important for dads to maintain their physical and mental health at this time and also after the baby is born.

“We do not know a lot about the risk factors for the baby blues in men, so it is highly likely that more men are suffering without being diagnosed.

“What is known is that depression post birth in fathers has serious negative consequences for their child’s development, for example an increased risk of behavioural problems, and for the relationship with their partner.

“By fully understanding the factors that might predict men’s health and wellbeing during pregnancy and after birth, appropriate diagnoses, advice and support services can be provided specifically for the needs of fathers.”

The researchers invite 250 men and their pregnant partners who are 12 to 17 weeks in gestation to take part in the study. The study will follow the participants from mid pregnancy to 12 months after the baby is born. Couples interested in taking part or wanting further information can contact Kim Yiong Wee at [email protected]