Is Postpartum Depression Exclusive to Women? Doctor Offers Insights and Tips for Coping

While not as prevalent as in females, research indicates that one out of every ten fathers may encounter postpartum depression.

Can Men Also Experience Postpartum Depression? Doctor Explains, Shares Tips To Manage
Can Men Also Experience Postpartum Depression? Doctor Explains, Shares Tips To Manage

Postpartum depression, affecting 6.5% to 20% of women, has long been viewed as primarily a female issue. However, research suggests that fathers can also be impacted. A study in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that prenatal and postpartum depression in fathers is relatively common. According to Dr. Rashmi Satpute, a Psychiatrist at Manipal Hospital, Baner, Pune, Maharashtra, while postpartum depression in men isn’t as prevalent as in women, studies indicate that one in ten fathers may experience it.

Depression experienced by men after the birth of a child

Depression experienced by men after the birth of a child

  • The JAD study, encompassing 20,728 participants, found that postpartum depression affected 8.75% of men within the first year after childbirth. Prevalence rates were 8.98% within the initial month, 7.82% between months one to three, 9.23% between months three to six, and 8.40% between months six to twelve postpartum.

    Dr. Satpute offered insights into this phenomenon, stating, “Becoming a parent is a life-altering experience, which can pose challenges for fathers too.” She outlined several contributing factors, including:

    1. Increased responsibility.
    2. Drastic changes in routine and lifestyle.
    3. Financial strain due to additional expenses associated with a newborn.
    4. Relationship stress stemming from lack of attention from the mother.
    5. Fatigue.
    6. Impact of the mother’s postpartum depression on the father.


  • Supporting the findings of the JAD study, which demonstrated a peak in postpartum depression within the first three months after childbirth, Dr. Satpute commented, “These symptoms develop gradually. It’s common for new parents to experience stress, anxiety, and fatigue, but if these persist for months, it’s time to seek help.” She provided a list of symptoms indicative of postpartum depression in men:

    1. Feelings of loneliness
    2. Persistent unhappiness
    3. Hopelessness
    4. Continued exhaustion despite adequate sleep
    5. Lethargy
    6. AnxietyTreatment of postpartum depression in fathers
    7. Depression
    8. Panic attacks
    9. Frequent bouts of crying

Treatment of postpartum depression in fathers


Another study, published in JAD and conducted by researchers from McGill University, Canada, highlighted the adverse effects of paternal depression on children’s behavioral and emotional development. The researchers emphasized the importance of early screening and targeted prevention strategies as primary measures against postpartum depression.

Dr. Satpute explained that the approach to treating postpartum depression in fathers varies depending on the severity of the case. She suggested several self-help techniques for managing mild depression after childbirth:

– Maintain physical activity.
– Ensure adequate rest, which is beneficial for both men and women.
– Share baby care responsibilities with the partner.
– Seek assistance from nannies, household help, and family members.
– Allocate time for personal activities.
– Tackle daily tasks one step at a time to prevent feeling overwhelmed.
– Open up about emotions to trusted individuals, as talking can be therapeutic.
– Explore support groups on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, where individuals share similar experiences and coping strategies.

In summary, postpartum depression in men often goes unnoticed, despite its relatability to many new fathers. This underscores the tendency to underestimate and trivialize mental health issues, particularly in men. To combat this stigma, Dr. Satpute advised fathers to consult a licensed therapist or psychologist if symptoms persist despite self-help efforts. Seeking timely treatment is essential, and there is no shame in prioritizing one’s health and seeking assistance for it.