Fathers are prone to postnatal depression - study
A significant number of Kiwi men are overcome by depression during a pregnancy, and the number climbs after birth, a new study reveals.
Most research goes into the well-known dangers of post-natal depression suffered by mums.
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But Auckland University researchers have found 2.3 per cent of fathers also experience depression during the pregnancy, and this reaches 4.3 per cent nine months after their child is born.
In a survey of 3500 Kiwi men, researchers investigated symptoms of depression in the third trimester of their partner's pregnancy and again nine months after the birth.
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Study author Dr Lisa Underwood said New Zealand women are assessed for postnatal depression following childbirth, but not during pregnancy.
Fathers are not assessed at all - "before or after the birth of their children, since they are not usually engaged in routine perinatal care," she said.
Paternal depression during pregnancy is consistently linked to fathers' poor health and stress during the pregnancy, she said.
Other risks for dads being depressed included a history of depression, unemployment, relationship status and family environments during the postnatal period.
The influence dads have on their child's development means depression could have direct and indirect effects on their children.
"It is important that we recognise and treat symptoms among fathers early," Dr Underwood said.
All studies drew on interviews with families involved in the study Growing Up in New Zealand, which is tracking the development of more than 6000 children born in 2009 and 2010.
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