Background: Mental distress patterns in first-time or experienced mothers and fathers during the transition to parenthood have been inadequately studied. This longitudinal study thus investigated changes in depression, anxiety, and health-related quality of life in both parents from early pregnancy until 1 year postpartum. Parity effects were specifically examined. Methods: In total, 531 pregnant women and their partners were recruited in Taiwan during early prenatal visits from 2011 to 2015, with five follow-ups from midpregnancy to 1 year postpartum. The participants’ self-reported data were collected and analyzed using generalized estimating equation models. Results: Maternal mental distress levels were highest at 1 month postpartum. During postpartum periods, depression scores increased and social relations domain scores decreased in men. Although mental distress levels were higher in mothers than in fathers, parity evidently affected men. Experienced fathers were independently associated with a 70% higher risk of perinatal depression (odds ratio [OR] = 1.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.2–2.3) and anxiety (OR = 1.7, 95% CI = 1.2–2.6). Experienced fathers also exhibited significantly lower perinatal scores than first-time fathers in the physical health and social relations domains. Limitations: Selection of both parents in metropolitan areas with higher socioeconomic status may restrict the generalizability of our findings. Conclusions: In addition to maternal mental distress during the transition to parenthood, we highlighted experienced fathers’ psychological difficulties throughout perinatal periods. Such trends may indicate unsatisfied needs and could guide timely intervention to prevent adverse consequences.
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