Paternal postpartum depression: How can nurses help?
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Men’s emotional health can be overlooked during their partner’s pregnancy and throughout the fi rst postpartum year. Postpartum depression, once expected only in new mothers, is now estimated to occur in 4–25% of new fathers as well. The incidence of paternal postpartum depression is greater in couples where maternal postpartum depression is also present. Paternal postpartum depression can be diffi cult to assess. New fathers may seem more angry and anxious than sad. And yet, depression is present. When left untreated, paternal postpartum depression limits men’s capacity to provide emotional support to their partners and children. This article reviews the incidence and prevalence of paternal postpartum depression, comments on tools to measure the disorder, identifi es paternal behaviors that may indicate depression, examines the effects of parental depression on families and discusses what nurses can do to begin to help.