Pregnancy, labor and delivery, nursing that new baby, moms go through tremendous physical and emotional changes when they experience maternity. Over the last few years, more research and focus has gone into understanding a woman’s experience in the months leading up to birth and in the months following. While there is still a long way to go in creating the systems, medical knowledge, work flexibility and support to help women during this time, progress is being made.

But there’s someone else’s physical and emotional health that undergoes significant changes as well when a new baby enters the family.

That person is the dad.

Check out these new research stats on what dads experience:

  • 70% of new dads say they are more stressed, getting less sleep, and feel more pressure about work and financially providing for their families.
  • 25% of new dads say they experience postpartum depression, with feelings of overwhelm and dejection.
  • 23% of new dads say they feel lonely and cut off from their social support.
  • 50% of new dads exercise less, eat less healthy, or start increasing their nicotine or alcohol consumption following the birth of a new baby.1

With those kinds of statistics showing the emotional and physical challenges many new dads face when becoming fathers, you would think there would be more awareness and resources to help. However, it’s still relatively ignored within our western culture. So what are the things you can be on the lookout for when it comes to getting fatherhood off to a good start?

Be aware: Most women who are going to experience postpartum depression see their symptoms peak at about two months after giving birth. For dads, it’s a different story. Depression symptoms for fathers usually happen later, within the first year after their baby’s birth.

It’s Different: For dads dealing with postpartum emotions and behaviors, it often looks different than what moms experience. Anger, an uptick in using alcohol, feeling more easily stressed, or even finding yourself emotionally or physically distancing from the homefront can all be signs that you may be having postpartum symptoms.2

It Can Happen Even Though You’re Excited About the New Baby: Getting the ‘baby blues’ doesn’t mean you’re not grateful and happy about your new child. The combo platter of big life change and big new responsibilities can send your nervous system into overdrive, even in the midst of being thrilled to be a dad.

What can you do if you start feeling a way you didn’t expect to as a new dad? As an Altrua HealthShare Member, contact your primary care provider to talk about your symptoms. You also have access to LifeWorks, a counseling service you can access for in-person sessions or for telehealth appointments. Your provider can help you navigate the emotion and physical changes you’re experiencing and can help you keep an eye on things. The earlier you contact your provider the better when it comes to postpartum experiences. Your provider will be able to help you with protocols and resources to help you manage the nerves and sleep deprivation. If you’re not yet an Altrua HealthShare Member, or you have questions about your selected membership, contact a Member Services Representative at 1.888.993.1262 for information.

As a dad, your well-being matters. To take the best care of your family, take care of you. Big emotions come with big changes in your life. As we celebrate Father’s Day, thanks for all you do as a dad and know that staying healthy is a great gift you give to your kids.