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Here's where we keep you updated on news about parenting as it relates to division of responsibilities, career versus home decisions, work/life balance, and legislative and grass-roots movements toward equality or better choices for families. We'll also throw in our opinions of life as equal parents in a nonequal world, regardless of what's in the news.

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Equality Blog

Friday, May 21, 2010

Paternal Postpartum Depression

Yes, that's right! A growing body of medical literature describes fathers as being at increased risk for depression after their partners give birth (and while they are pregnant), and an association between paternal postpartum depression and negative emotional, behavioral and developmental outcomes for the child. A new meta analysis in the veritable Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA, May 19, 2010 issue) seeks to better quantify and describe this phenomenon.

It turns out, at least in this paper, that prenatal and postpartum depression happens to about 10% of men, and is most common about 3 to 6 months after the babies arrive. This compares to a rate of about 24% for maternal depression in the same study data, and a general national population rate for depression of about 5% for men in any given 12-month period.

The researchers warn that their findings suggest more questions than provide answers. But it seems that significantly more fathers experience depression before or shortly after their babies' birth. And the authors conclude with a nice ESP-like statement: "Future research in this area should focus on parents together to examine the onset and joint course of depression in new parents."

Just thought you might be interested.


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