Doctors need to help new dads suffering the baby blues too

Healthcare professionals should recognise and treat
“postnatal depression” in new dads in order to reduce
any adverse effects on their children, researchers have

Records on more than 8,000 fathers in England and the US reveal
that, eight weeks after the birth of their child, 3.6% of dads
appeared to be suffering from depression, with symptoms including
anxiety, mood swings, irritability and feelings of hopelessness.
This compares with 10.2% of new mums.

Studies of the children’s behaviour aged 3 ½ finds that,
in families where fathers had been depressed soon after the birth,
children were twice as likely to have high levels of emotional and
behavioural problems.

“The influence of fathers in very early childhood may have
been underestimated in the past,” said Oxford psychiatrist Dr
Paul Ramchandani. “But these findings indicate that paternal
depression has a specific and persisting impact on children’s
early behavioural and emotional development and that fathers
influence their children’s development from very early in

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