Let’s focus on Dads for a moment. Dads’ emotional wellness can often go unchecked since the focus is on the health of mom and the new baby. Considering that 10-20 percent of men experience a perinatal mood disorder in the postpartum period, it’s clear dads need support too!
No, we aren’t talking hormonal changes in women. Men’s hormones can also fluctuate during the postpartum period. And yes, you read that correctly. My jaw hit the floor also.
Get this: Testosterone levels can actually decrease during the postpartum stage. Lowered testosterone levels have been linked with depressive symptoms.
Here is a list of hormones that can increase in men postpartum:
Cortisol (main stress hormone)
Estrogen (we all know this one!)
Vasopressin (peptide hormone)
Oxytocin (feel good hormone)
Adapted from Dr. Daniel Singley with The Center or Men’s Excellence
What Are the Signs?
Curious about what symptoms to lookout for in your partner? Check out how depression commonly manifests in men:
Difficulty with making decisions
Anger/lower impulse control/aggression
Low frustration tolerance
How to Help
Ask him how he is handling the change. Understand that his approach to parenting and forming an attachment to the baby may be different than yours. Encourage him to still maintain his social support (time with friends). If needed, encourage him to see his physician or a counselor if his mood remains unchanged. And don’t forget to have him check out this awesome (and free) resource: Postpartum Support International’s Dads Chat with an Expert