LOS ANGELES — They might relish becoming parents, but they can also be unprepared for the infant in their lives. They’re sleep-deprived, confused and irritable. They’re the fathers.
Discussions of the connection between mental health and childbirth have long focused on women, but a sizable portion of men experience prenatal and postpartum depression too, according to research released Tuesday.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that 10.4 percent of men experienced serious depression at some point between his partner’s first trimester and one year after childbirth, more than double the depression rate for men in general. U.S. men were more likely to experience prenatal or postpartum depression compared with men in other countries: 14.1 percent in the United States compared with 8.2 percent internationally.
“It’s viewed as a disorder of motherhood. It’s not viewed by health professionals and the public as a problem in fathers,” said James Paulson, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk.
Paulson analyzed the findings of 43 studies involving 28,004 participants. The men were from the United States, China, Ireland, United Kingdom, Australia and several other developed nations.