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Women Birth. 2008 Jun;21(2):65-70. doi: 10.1016/j.wombi.2008.03.008. Epub 2008 May 13.

Bringing birth-related paternal depression to the fore.

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Faculty of Medicine, University of Caxias do Sul, Brazil.



Maternal postpartum depression is a prevalent health disorder with important consequences to the family and child development. Research evidence demonstrates that fathers can also suffer from psychological distress in the postpartum period and that paternal depression has a detrimental effect on the child's behavioral and emotional development. This study aims to review the current literature available about birth-related paternal depression.


A literature search from 1980 to 2007 was conducted through Medline electronic database, using the following Mesh terms: postpartum, postnatal, depression, fathers and paternal. Studies on maternal postpartum depression that examined issues related to paternal depression were also selected.


Understanding about paternal depressive disorders during the postnatal period has advanced considerably in the last decade. Various studies demonstrate that birth-related paternal depression is a significant problem and closely associated with maternal depressive symptoms. Children of depressive fathers are also at risk for emotional and behavioral problems.


Men may suffer from psychological distress after childbirth and birth-related paternal depression is not a rare phenomenon. Since this disorder, also called 'paternal postpartum depression', presents potential deleterious effects for the child, an increased level of public health awareness and scientific interest is warranted. In addition, a more detailed assessment of fathers during the postnatal period is recommended, especially when their partners are also depressed, so that the condition will be promptly recognized and treated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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