1. Singh Joy, Subhashni D.


According to this study:


* Health care providers should be aware that fathers-to-be and new fathers experience depression.



Article Content

Fathers may experience prenatal and postpartum depression just as mothers do. A meta-analysis by Paulson and Bazemore included 43 international studies (17 were U.S. studies) published between January 1980 and October 2009. All but three of the trials used self-reporting scales to define cases; the others used an interview. There was a wide range in sample size, from 23 to 10,975, for a total of 28,004 mothers and fathers included in the analysis.


The overall rate of paternal depression between the first trimester of pregnancy and one year postpartum was 10%, with the lowest rates observed between birth and three months postpartum and the highest rates between three and six months postpartum. A higher rate was observed in the United States (14%) than internationally (8%). Lower prevalence was seen when interviews rather than rating scales were used to define cases; however, since only a few studies used interviews, further research is needed to verify this finding.


Mothers had an overall depression rate of 24%, with the highest rates occurring three to six months after giving birth. As with fathers, a higher rate of maternal depression was also observed in the United States (30%) than in other countries (20%). Depression in fathers also showed a moderate positive correlation with depression in mothers.


The authors concluded that because the rate of depression in fathers in these trials (10%) was twice as high as that in men in general (5%), according to national prevalence data, prenatal and postpartum depression do occur in this population.


Paulson JF, Bazemore SD. JAMA 2010; 303(19):1961-9.