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Induced Moods: Fertility Drugs and Postpartum Depression:

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

The days of TTC or trying to conceive (much like preparing for your wedding day) can be extremely exciting and also very frustrating and, for many, often times depressing. On the swing side, finally getting a BFP (Big Fat Positive) on your pregnancy test, especially for women and couples who’ve experienced “complications” in conceiving, (much like the day you find/found your perfect gown and take/took that stroll down the aisle). can be very exciting, a moment of hope and joy. Yet, just like your wedding, for many, once the initial excitement is over, reality frequently kicks in (along with many accompanying realizations, responsibilities, and lots of life change), leaving some feeling more anxious and ambivalent than enthusiastic.

Depending on the severity of your mood, you, like many others may be experiencing a case of more than just your normal baby blues. In fact postpartum depression is said to be increasingly prevalent and a very serious condition, generally affecting moms within the first few days to months after childbirth, worthy of immediate (professional) attention.

A new study however proposes that women who received assisted reproductive technologies (ART) to help them conceive were about four times more likely to suffer from PPD than those who conceived naturally.

According to statistics, about one in 10 mothers experience postpartum depression, a number that keeps rising with an increase in “older” mothers and in C-section births. Typically onset is caused by (natural) hormonal changes that occur after childbirth, and may be hereditary. Women with PPD are “unable” to bond or connect with their child and subsequently become depressed due to feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Sometimes these feelings can become so severe that they interfere with the mother’s ability to properly reason, care for her child and function. According to experts it is imperative that these women seek relief and treatment via prescribed medication, psychotherapy or both.

A recent Australian study geared at finding the correlation between PPD and mothers who received ART revealed that at least 6 percent of women who took fertility drugs experienced some sort of mood disorder to some degree, compared to 1.5 percent of those (women) who conceived naturally. They also found a correlation between mood disorders and women who had conceived via in-vitro fertilization and subsequently needed to have a C-section delivery.

While these preliminary tests are yet to be considered completely conclusive, and more tests have to be done, researchers are confided in concluding that there is a connection between mothers who use ART and depressive disorders. They suggest that perhaps women who receive fertility treatments may be unprepared for the realities of motherhood due to their primary focus being on the “ability” to conceive and “keep” the baby. Furthermore, they add that ART in combination with surgery may interfere with the mother’s ability to bond with her child. They note that mothers who received ART seem less likely to complain because they wanted the birth so much.

Whatever the reasons, experts strongly recommend that women receiving ART discuss the pros and cons and ALL their feelings (and concerns) with their doctor (in specific detail). They also recommend these women closely monitor their mood and any significant changes, especially after the child is born. And, they caution that women, who fear they may be experiencing some form of PPD, should contact their doctor or health care practitioner immediately.

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