August 23, 2005

IVF mothers prone to ‘baby blues’

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - 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

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

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.