First-time parents enjoy improved mental health and reduced
psychological stress after their baby is born, according to
The finding comes from a University of Otago study of 6670
new married, single and co-habitating parents.
Researchers discovered becoming a parent for the first time
was good news for mothers and fathers. This differs from
overseas research, which showed major differences between the
results for women and men.
The reason for the link between first-time parents and
improved mental health was unknown, said the researchers.
The study took into account partner status, employment,
deprivation and household income, but further work was needed
to examine changes in socio-economic factors when a child
comes along and how these affect new parents, said Ms
However, they found there was no impact on mental health when
parents had subsequent children, said research fellow Sarah
The study was published in the international Journal of
Epidemiology and Community Health.