7 Steps to Stop Postpartum Depression Before It Starts

Recommendations from mental health professionals on how to avoid postpartum depression.

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Familiarity with the signs of depression and advanced preparation for changes that accompany the birth of a baby may help prevent postpartum depression, which experts now realize affects men as well as women. Mental health professionals recommend:

  • Attending hospital-sponsored parenting classes.
  • Designing a financial plan to address expected baby-related expenses.
  • Devising strategies for shared childcare responsibilities. The father, for example, may handle a nighttime feeding by using formula or pumped breast milk.
  • Addressing marital or relationship issues before the child is born.
  • Hiring domestic help or asking a family member to baby-sit once a week.
  • Understanding that sex lives change with the birth and may not return to normal for a year or more.
  • Joining a support group for new fathers or reading about depression on websites such as PostpartumMen.com, which includes a screening test for men, and on this page of the National Institute of Mental Health website.