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10 August 2012
Life isn’t always easy for Dads in the first weeks of their new baby’s life. Andrew Cate looks into some of the health challenges facing first-time fathers.
The challenge for first-time fathers
Becoming a father for the first time is an amazing experience. The bond it creates with your partner, and the sheer joy of bringing a new life into the world, are significant moments in any man’s life.
But they’re also moments that bring many changes.
There will be changes in your relationship and finances, increased domestic burdens, less free time for exercise and healthy food preparation, and disruptions to your normal sleep patterns. It can be a challenging time, and new research has revealed what impact it can have on man’s health
A study published in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology suggested new fathers are at an increased risk of experiencing postnatal mental health problems.
The research on 3471 Australian fathers found that one in ten experienced anxiety, worry, tiredness and significant stress in the first year after the birth of their child. New fathers also had increased odds for psychological distress compared with the Australian adult male population. In addition, fathers living apart from their biological children were more vulnerable to mental health difficulties than those men living with their children.
The researchers also commented that fathers are at a greater risk of postnatal mental health problem if they have a past history of mental illness, have a partner with mental health difficulties, are experiencing relationship difficulties, and/or have a child with a difficult temperament.
Practical tips to help fathers cope
Many of the services designed to help new parents are aimed at mothers, so first-time fathers may need to be proactive when it comes to taking care of their health. Here are some strategies that may help men deal with the physical and mental demands of being a new parent.
References available on request
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