London - The exhaustion, sleep deprivation and effort of juggling work with the demands of a baby can have a devastating psychological effect on new mothers.
But experts say fathers could also suffer from a form of postnatal depression because of fluctuating hormones in the months after the birth.
For some – those who experience low testosterone – this can result in depression and low mood. But for others – those who have a hormone surge – it can lead to aggressive and hostile behaviour.
And as hormones fluctuate, mood swings are often the result, the researchers found. Experts from the University of Southern California said 10 percent of men report symptoms of depression following the birth of a child, about double the typical rate of depression in males.
It suggests the problem is nearly as common as it is for women, among whom 20 percent suffer postnatal depression. Study leader Dr Darby Saxbe, whose work is published in the journal Hormones and Behaviour, said: "We tend to think of postpartum depression as a mum thing. It’s not. It’s a real condition that might be linked to hormones and biology."
The research involved tracking 149 couples for 15 months after the birth.