KATE HUDSON suffered depression after giving birth to her son RYDER in 2004, because she struggled to regain her figure. The actress’ weight yo-yo’d after the birth and she has spent the last two years finding a comfortable weight. Hudson, married to BLACK CROWES rocker CHRIS ROBINSON, says, “I was the happiest pregnant woman. Then I had the baby, and I was just fat.”
Do men get postpartum depression?
By Dr. Murray Feingold
July 18, 2006
Most people are aware of the presence of postpartum depression in new mothers. However, postpartum depression can also affect fathers. Researchers in a recent study followed 5,000 new mothers and fathers for nine months. Results of the study showed that 14 percent of the mothers had symptoms of depression and 10 percent of the fathers were also depressed. The percentage of depression in fathers was higher than that found in the general population, which is reported to be about 5 percent.
The symptoms of depression in the fathers included feelings of hopelessness, sadness, anxiety and irritability. These symptoms appeared within eight weeks after the birth of the child. It is essential to be aware of the presence of postpartum depression, in either mother or father, because it can impact on the care that the parents provide their newborn babies. In the presence of depression there was less involvement of the parent in various activities and this can affect the baby’s development. There was less reading and storytelling and playing with their young offspring.
It may also be associated with psychological problems for the child in the future. A prior study showed that 17 percent of children whose fathers were depressed exhibited various psychological symptoms several years later. Boys were more likely to be affected when the father was depressed. The cause of depression in the fathers is unclear. One theory is that both social and hormonal factors may play a role. There is no question that the addition of a child to the family dramatically changes the family dynamics. Many of these changes can affect the father and lead to psychological problems.
What is important, is to be aware that following the birth of a child, not only mother, but also father may become depressed. If depression is present, this should be discussed with the father’s physician because effective treatment is available.
Dr. Murray Feingold is the physician in chief of the National Birth Defects Center, medical editor of CBS4 TV and WBZ radio, and president of the Genesis Fund. The Genesis Fund is a nonprofit organization that funds the care of children born with birth defects, mental retardation and genetic diseases.