It turns out that some people will experience symptoms of postpartum depression without ever giving birth. A growing body of research has found that approximately 7 to 10 percent of new fathers report symptoms of depression following the birth of a child, compared to about 12 percent of new mothers. A 2017 study conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California has found a link between male postpartum depression and decreased testosterone levels. In addition, research has shown that while a man's testosterone level may drop during his partner's pregnancy, his levels of estrogen, prolactin and cortisol are more likely to increase.
And baby makes three:
- Researchers don’t know why a man’s testosterone level changes during this time. Possibilities include increased stress and disrupted sleep. Some men even experience nausea and weight gain.
- Low testosterone is known to cause lethargy in men, coupled with disinterest in normally pleasurable activities. Some psychiatrists prescribe testosterone supplements to treat depression.
- But some experts argue that these symptoms should not be equated with the postpartum depression experienced by some new mothers. According to Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody, “The process of birthing and the hormonal gymnastics that women experience is on a different planet.”