New Study Finds Having a New Baby Affects Men’s Sexual Desire

Both Parents of Newborns Are Susceptible to Postpartum

Men Also Suffer Postpartum A new study finds that having a new baby doesn’t just affect a mom’s sex drive, but her partner’s as well.  Contrary to most myths, men are not excluded from experiencing the “baby blues” after having a child.

Previous studies relative to sex after childbirth have mainly focused on the biology of the female. Light has been shed on information such as how hormonal changes during pregnancy and the affect breastfeeding can have on sexual desire.

There are multiple studies on postpartum depression (also called PPD).  PPD is a kind of depression that some women experience after having a baby. PPD is strong feelings of sadness that last for a long time. These feelings can make it hard for the mother to take care of her baby. About 1 out of every 8 women has postpartum depression after giving birth. PPD is the most common complication for women who have just had a baby. PPD can happen any time after childbirth. It often starts within 1 to 3 weeks of having a baby. It’s a medical condition that needs treatment to get better.

It’s fairly common to have the “baby blues” after having a child, but postpartum depression is a more serious condition. Some symptoms include insomnia, loss of appetite, difficulty bonding with the baby, feelings of shame or inadequacy, and even thoughts about harming yourself or the baby.

This new study takes a look into the world of the newborn’s father or other parental figure in same-sex couples.

Apparently, mothers aren’t the only people who suffer from postpartum depression: A new meta-analysis in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 1 in 10 expecting fathers also experienced some sadness after the birth of their child. The men were found to have the highest risk of depression when the baby was 3-6 months old.

Some data suggested that 4.8 percent of new dads suffer from the condition, say the scientists. A secondary finding was that the researchers found a “moderate” link between depression in mothers and depression in fathers. This means that if one parent is found to have the condition, there’s a chance that the spouse will too.

For some, it’s hard to even fathom that men can suffer from postpartum depression usually labeled paternal postnatal depression. After all, women are the ones who carry the baby for 9 months and go through vast hormonal swings. But after the birth, men’s hormones change, too: testosterone levels go down, estrogen levels rise, and prolactin levels—associated with breast feeding in moms—also go up in men, says Courtenay, though he can’t explain why. And half of all men whose partners have postpartum depression are depressed themselves, which often makes for a turbulent household.

“There’s a cultural myth that men don’t get depressed, and it’s so powerful that even trained clinicians are less likely to correctly diagnose depression in men than in women,” explains Will Courtenay, Ph.D., a psychotherapist and leading expert on postpartum depression in men.

The term paternal postnatal depression (PPND) wasn’t heard of until mid-2010, after a growing number of men began reporting depression. A meta-analysis in the Journal of the American Medical Association brought light to the disease in a major way. The analysis of more than 28,000 fathers determined that up to 14 percent of dads in the U.S. experience depression after the birth of their child, and that figure escalates to 25 percent in the period 3 to 6 months after birth.

Sari van Anders of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and her colleagues designed a study to examine postpartum sexuality as a social and relational process, focusing on co-parents. A total of 114 partners (95 men, 18 women, 1 unspecified) completed an online questionnaire about their sexuality during the three months following their youngest child’s birth.

The researchers found that partners experience similar shifts in sexuality, including highs and lows. Low desire in partners was largely influenced by factors related to caring for a new baby — such as sleepless nights and stress — rather than the fact the birth mother just wasn’t all that interested.

“Our findings help to clarify how co-parents experience sexuality in myriad ways that are contextualized within partner and parenting relationships,” said Dr. van Anders. These findings are published in a recent issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Prior research has found that nature regulates testosterone levels as a man becomes a new dad. While men with high testosterone are most likely to find a mate, the hormone levels plunges when he becomes a dad who is involved with his kids. That study, conducted by researchers at Northwestern University in the US, was published in 2011 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The male half of a couple experiences postpartum shifts in sexuality similar to the female half, a new study finds. The same also held true in same-sex partnerships for the woman who didn’t carry the baby. Studies confirm that neither parent Is exempt from experiencing the “baby blues” after having a child. Before that time arrives it’s important to set up a social support system and have it in place before the baby arrives. When planning to have a child a key thing for new parents is finding backup support.

New study reveals an important for the mother of the newborn to consider; the emotions they are sorting through are often being experienced by their partner as well.

By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)

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