Postpartum Depression is Even Worse in New Dad

The interesting point to note was the probability of depression symptoms declined significantly over 10 times for mothers, but not for fathers after the baby came home.

Postpartum Depression in New Father

“Our findings point to the need for increased attention to the mental health of new fathers, during their baby’s NICU stay and after discharge. This is crucial, not only for the well-being of new parents but also for the optimal development of their child,” says lead author Craig F. Garfield, MD, MAPP, Founder and Director of Family & Child Health Innovations Program at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Professor of Pediatrics and Medical Social Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.


A child’s risk for delayed or impaired cognitive, emotional, and linguistic development along with behavioral problems is seen to be contributed more with parental depression.

Hence the study team screened 431 parents of premature infants for depression using the validated Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS) at four time points: NICU admission, discharge, 14-days, and 30-days post-discharge.

It was speculated that the probability of parental depression symptoms in the first month of the baby’s life at home can be predicted by screening the parents for depression in the NICU.

“The unanticipated difference we found in the trajectory of depression symptoms between mothers and fathers after bringing their preemie home underscores the importance of reaching out to fathers, who might not even be aware that they need help or know where to turn when in persistent distress. We need programs in the NICU that universally screen both parents for depression, proactively educate the family about potential symptoms and offer mental health support during this stressful time in the NICU, leading up to discharge and after going home,” says Dr. Garfield.

Source: Medindia

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