Postpartum depression is a commonly heard term in moms, and moreover, there have been certain celebrity moms like Brooke Shields, Drew Barrymore and Chrissy Teigen who have openly shared the struggles they have faced after delivery of their baby. But recently a star father received an instant backlash because he opened up about his postpartum depression. The comments he heard was ‘why don’t you just Man Up?’
Despite all this skepticism, fathers also go through postpartum depression. This estimates to around 10% of men who report symptoms of depression after the birth of their child. Postpartum depression in women takes place because of the hormonal shifts, but the hormone role in men’s postpartum depression is still unknown.
Testosterone Levels Brings About Change
This is an androgen hormone which is responsible for bringing about the development towards the maintenance of the male secondary sex characteristics. It enhances the muscle mass, hair growth and sex drive in the male body. There has been researches and various studies done which has concluded that decrease to the testosterone levels in new fathers across the animal kingdom. Some animals were a part of the biparental care of offspring research such as:
- Cpttpm-top tamarins, Mongolian gerbils, Djungarian hamsters and California mice
- Dogs show lower testosterone levels following the birth of their pups
Human males also face the issues of low testosterone levels around the birth of their baby. As per one of the largest studies on testosterone and fatherhood, researchers followed over 600 single men in the Philippines for about a time span of 5 years. If men became fathers during that times, a dip in their testosterone levels was noticed whereas the ones who were single had high levels of testosterone. Another interesting research proved that fathers who spent more time with their children also proved to have lower testosterone levels. It might be due to suppressed parental caregiving.
Lower The Testosterone in Men The Higher The Depression Levels
There has been researching done that has linked testosterone with men’s depression. Low levels of testosterone lead to causing a feeling of laziness and disinterest in activities which you probably enjoyed doing in the past. As per psychiatrists, they have suggested prescribing various testosterone boosting supplements to help men tackle the issue of depression. However, there has been no concrete evidence that has been proved at the potential role of testosterone in father’s postpartum depression.
As per the analyzed data from the Community Child Health Research Network which is the National Institutes of Health-funded study of new parents, the study was made to recruit moms after the birth of the baby and followed them for years along with their partners. The study also was made to collect the saliva samples for testosterone analysis when their infants were nine months old. The results proved that both mom and dad showed symptoms of depression at several points of time across the first few years of parenthood.
This study further resulted in proving that fathers with lower testosterone were reported to be more depressed. Thus testosterone can lead to postpartum depression.