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.