Mothers who conceive through In vitro fertilization, or other so-called assisted reproductive technologies, are at increased risk for post-natal mood disorder and early parenting difficulties, Australian researchers report.
“These data would suggest that obstetricians, pediatricians, and other clinicians caring for pregnant women and mothers and infants after childbirth should be conscious that a previous history of fertility difficulties, advanced maternal age, assisted conception, operative delivery, and multiple birth may heighten the risk for postpartum mood disturbance and early parenting difficulties,” the authors write.
The findings, which appear in the journal Fertility and Sterility, stem from a study of all mother-infant pairs admitted over a 3-year period to a hospital unit that specializes in the care of mothers with mood disorders or exhaustion, and infants with sleeping or feeding problems.
Of the 745 medical records that were reviewed, 526 specified the mode of conception, Dr. Jane R. W. Fisher, from the University of Melbourne, and colleagues note.
Overall, 6 percent of the infants admitted to the unit were conceived with the use of assisted reproductive technologies. By contrast, the rate in the general population was just 1.5 percent, suggesting that assisted conception does raise the risk of maternal mood disorder and infant sleeping or feeding problems.
Compared with mothers who conceived spontaneously, those who had assisted conception were older, more likely to have multiple births and to undergo c-section.
“Further research specifically designed to investigate the separate contributions of maternal age and modes of conception and delivery and of multiple birth to postpartum psychological adjustment in women is needed,” the authors conclude.
SOURCE: Fertility and Sterility, August 2005.
Revision date: July 5, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD