on Perinatal Depression and Anxiety
Both men and women can have perinatal depression and anxiety. Perinatal refers to the time during pregnancy or within a baby’s 1st year. Depression and anxiety are serious but treatable brain disorders that involve many feelings and symptoms
Perinatal Depression & Anxiety in Men
- This is also called Paternal Postpartum Depression (PPND).
- 4% to 25% of men will have PPND during this time.
- Men are more at risk for PPND when:-The baby’s mom is also depressed.
- He has a strained relationship with baby’s mom.
- The baby has health problems.-He has a mental health history.
- Research also suggests a link between depression and low testosterone level in new dads
Perinatal Depression & Anxiety in Women
- 15% to 20% of women have depression and anxiety during this time.
- It can develop in women of every culture, age, income level and race.
- The 1st year of life is vital to the baby’s brain development.
- A depressed mom may be less able to respond to her baby’s needs.
- This can cause delays in the baby’s physical and emotional growth.
Depression is a real brain disorder
Symptoms differ for everyone and may include the following:
- Feeling angry or irritable
- Lack of interest in the baby
- Problems eating and sleeping
- Feeling sad, crying
- Feelings of guilt, shame or hopelessness
- Loss of interest, joy or pleasure in things you used to enjoy
- Thoughts of harming baby or yourself
How can PPND affect the baby?
A lack of interaction between dad and baby could:
- Increase the chances of behavior issues later in baby’s life.
- Could delay language development.
Ideas to help baby’s mom
- Help with housework before being asked.
- Remind her to take breaks. Fatigue can make symptoms of depression worse.
- Say encouraging things like, “We will get through this” or “I’m here for you”.
- Remind her that it’s not her fault.
- Encourage her to seek support and treatment if needed.
- Ideas to help yourself
Ideas to help yourself
- Being a new father may include changes in lifestyle, relationships and financial responsibilities. These pressures added to a lack of sleep, concern for your partner, and more responsibilities at home can spark feelings of PPND.
- Ask for help. Say yes when help is offered.
- Develop a support team for your family, including community resources like church, your local recreation center and joining in on local community events.
- Take some time for yourself.
- Eat healthy meals.
- Take a walk or exercise.
- Talk with family/friends with similar experiences.
- Seek support and treatment for yourself if needed.