Copyright ©The Author(s) 2022. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Obstet Gynecol. Feb 10, 2022; 11(1): 1-7
Published online Feb 10, 2022. doi: 10.5317/wjog.v11.i1.1
Mental fitness during transition to fatherhood
Marjan Khajehei, Julie Ann Swain, Elmira Behroozpour, Negar Hajizadeh, Ali Parvaneh
Marjan Khajehei, Julie Ann Swain, Department of Women’s and Newborn Health, Westmead Hospital, Westmead 2145, New South Wales, Australia
Marjan Khajehei, Department of Medicine and Health, Westmead Clinical School, University of Sydney, Sydney 2000, New South Wales, Australia
Marjan Khajehei, School of Women's and Children's Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2000, New South Wales, Australia
Elmira Behroozpour, Department of Laboratory, Azad University of Saveh, Saveh 367546, Iran
Negar Hajizadeh, Ali Parvaneh, Department of Education, Azad University of Sadra, Shiraz 25858, Iran
Author contributions: Khajehei M, Swain J, Behroozpour E, Hajizadeh N and Parvaneh A contributed equally to this work; they designed the paper's outline, conducted literature search, and contributed to the manuscript writing; all authors have read and approve the final manuscript.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/Licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Corresponding author: Marjan Khajehei, PhD, Professor, Department of Women’s and Newborn Health, Westmead Hospital, Room 3046, Westmead 2145, New South Wales, Australia. mar_far76@yahoo.com
Received: March 11, 2021
Peer-review started: March 11, 2021
First decision: March 31, 2021
Revised: May 12, 2021
Accepted: January 19, 2022
Article in press: January 19, 2022
Published online: February 10, 2022

Transition into fatherhood is often marked by a period of adjustment, uncertainty and psychological distress and challenges for many men, along with social isolation and relationship problems. Risk factors for paternal mental health issues are maternal depression, marital distress, parenting stress, gender role stress, mismatched expectations for pregnancy and after childbirth, poor physical health, inadequate self-care behaviours, avoiding seeking help for mental health issues, and having a child with sleeping, feeding and temperament problems. Paternal depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder can have negative impacts on the social and emotional wellbeing of fathers, their partners and their children. Nevertheless, these issues are not widely acknowledged, recognised or treated. Men’s mental health illness is a silent crisis. They often fail to seek help due to their feeling of shame, stigma for a lack of emotional control, distress or anxiety related to utilising mental health support services, and underrating the severity of their symptoms. These necessitate the need for timely attention, psychological support and proper education to minimise their risk of mental health issues. Although research has indicated fathers’ inclination toward being included in practices such as the mental health assessment, perinatal education and postnatal educational approaches need to be inclusive of fathers and encourage them to seek support for their paternal mental health issues and parenting difficulties.

Keywords: Childbirth, Father, Mental health, Parenting

Core Tip: Transition to fatherhood can have both positive and negative effects on the social and emotional wellbeing of fathers, their partners and their children. The importance of appropriate timely support and education during pregnancy and after childbirth along with the gaps in practice highlight the need for high-quality educational approaches for fathers that will help enhance their mental health and increase their confidence and practical parenting skills.