Post-partum depression is usually associated with mothers. In an article in this month’s Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), authors discuss the issue of paternal perinatal depression, a seldom recognized, seldom treated condition that affects an estimated 1 in 10 men.
While Canadian data are not currently available, international studies indicate that the prevalence of “sad Dads” can be as low as 4 per cent to a high of 25 per cent. Inadequate research into this area of depression has left knowledge gaps in the impact of paternal perinatal depression but it is known that depressed fathers are more likely to strike out and hit other members of the family, including children. This in turn is associated with adverse emotional and behavioural affects for affected children.
During pregnancy, the mother is typically the focus of health care professionals, while the father is left out of the sphere of attention. This article contains some suggestions for health care providers for a more “father-inclusive” approach when a couple comes for a medical appointment.
To read the abstract in the December issue of the CMAJ, go to www.cmaj.ca.