More on Dads and Postpartum Depression

In the February 2007 issue of PSYCHIATRY journal the cover story is: SAD DADS: Paternal Postpartum Depression.

In a comprehensive and impressive article, citing the relevance of screening and treating depression in fathers, a couple of new points are raised:

1) Up until now, paternal PPD had been assessed by using measures developed for maternal PPD which may or may not be applicable.
2)”There has been only one study examining the validation of the EPDS for men. The findings from the study suggest that the cut-off score to best identify fathers who were depressed and/or anxious is 5 to 6, which was two points lower than the cut-off score for mothers. Because lower cutoff scores are often used to diagnose minor PPD for women, there may have been underestimations of the significance of paternal PPD.”
3)”Paternal PPD tends to develop more gradually than maternal PPD. Longitudinal studies suggest that the rate of depression during the prenatal period decreases shortly after childbirth, but increases over the course of the first year. “
4)”Maternal depression has consistently been found to be the most important risk factor for depression in fathers, both prenatally and postnatally”
5)”Although there are few studies existing on this topic, the high comorbidity of postpartum depression with other psychiatric disorders has been found among men. The most common psychiatric disorders co-occurring with depression during postpartum period are anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)….These parental preoccupations also include anxious, intrusive thoughts about the infant. In the few studies done so far, it was found that 95 percent of mothers and 80 percent of fathers experienced recurrent thoughts about the possibility of something bad happening to their babies at eight months of gestation. In the weeks following delivery, this percentage declined only slightly to 80 and 73 percent for mothers and fathers, respectively, and at three months these figures were unchanged”.

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