New Dads Think They Are Getting Postpartum Depression ... but It's Likely Just Lack of Sleep

New Dads Think They Are Getting Postpartum Depression ... but It's Likely Just Lack of Sleep

You didn't give birth. They're not your hormones. 

By Marianne Garvey

Turns out, you don’t have to give birth to develop postpartum depression — or so men think. 

A link between depression and sagging testosterone levels in new dads has been found, says a new study from the University of Southern California, which adds that, although you may be down in the dumps, it's likely not exactly "postpartum depression."

Seven to 10 percent of new fathers (compared with about 12 percent of new mothers) were likely to show signs of depression, which resulted in spanking their children and reading less to them.

“We know testosterone drops in new dads, but we don’t know why,” said Darby Saxbe, author of the new report. “It’s often been suggested hormones underlie some of the postpartum depression in moms, but there’s been so much less attention paid to fathers. We were trying to put together the pieces to solve this puzzle. The idea that parents who haven’t given birth can get postpartum depression isn’t entirely new. Studies have shown, for example, that moms and dads who adopt children also show signs of the condition.”

Postpartum depression has gotten less of a stigma since Adele, Hayden Panettiere, Brooke Shields, Gwyneth Paltrow, Chrissy Teigen and others have shared their stories.

Scientists are trying to figure out how men are feeling blue post-childbirth if they aren’t actually suffering from hormonal changes. The study addresses the fact that too little attention has been paid to the role of men in the postpartum discussion.

Some have determined that what the news dads are experiencing isn’t exactly postpartum depression, but instead other depressive symptoms, perhaps due to an extreme lifestyle change (like a newborn), or sleep deprivation.

“To a certain extent, any postpartum depression is just depression that happens to emerge in the postpartum period,” the study’s author added. “It’s not superconclusive that there’s an obvious hormonal reason in women, either.”

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