Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mothers and fathers of twins report more mental health symptoms than parents of singletons

08.07.2008
Single pregnancies should be the aim of ART say researchers

Mothers and fathers of twins conceived either spontaneously or with assisted reproductive technology (ART) suffer more mental health symptoms after delivery and one year later than do parents of singleton babies, according to research presented to the 24th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Barcelona yesterday.

However, the mothers of ART twins had fewer symptoms of depression before the birth than did mothers of twins conceived spontaneously. “This may be due to better counselling and preparation of infertile couples for twins,” Dr Leila Unkila Kallio told the conference. “The good mental health during pregnancy may also reflect the couples’ satisfaction with successful treatment and fulfilment of hopes for parenthood,” she added. After birth, fathers of twins in both groups showed more depression, anxiety, social dysfunction and sleeping problems than did fathers of singletons.

The study is the first to investigate the mental health of both mothers and fathers of twins conceived either spontaneously or through ART using their own sperm and eggs, covering the transitional period to parenthood from pre-birth through to one year afterwards. Dr Unkila Kallio said that it showed that psychological well-being of prospective parents should be taken into account when deciding how many embryos to implant during ART – as well as the health risks of twin pregnancies to both mothers and babies.

“We believe it is important to reduce multiple pregnancies worldwide by introducing single embryo transfers. Our results on parental mental health of twin parents provide further evidence to support this policy,” said Dr Unkila Kallio, who is a senior consultant in gynaecology and obstetrics at Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki (Finland).

Dr Unkila Kallio and her colleagues studied ART parents of 91 twins and 367 singletons and control parents of 20 twins and 379 singletons (conceived spontaneously) at three time points: in the second trimester of pregnancy, when the children were two months old and when they were one year old. Depressive symptoms, anxiety, sleeping difficulties and social dysfunction were measured using the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ36). Mothers and fathers separately had to indicate how much their present state was like or unlike their normal state for a range of symptoms on a scale of 1 to 4 (1 = not at all; 2 = same as usual; 3 = rather more than usual; 4 = much more than usual). The researchers measured differences in the way the symptoms varied between the groups.

During pregnancy, they found that ART mothers of twins had lower mean averages of depressive symptoms than the control mothers of twins (1.18 versus 1.34) but similar levels to the ART and control mothers of singletons (1.14 and 1.26, respectively). Fathers in all groups had similar mental health during the pregnancies.

After delivery and at one year, mothers of twins in both the ART and control group had more symptoms of depression (1.30 and 1.34) and anxiety (1.60 and 1.67) than did the mothers of singletons in both groups (1.19 and 1.23 for depression in ART and control mothers, and 1.45 and 1.47 for anxiety).

ART fathers of two-month old twins, had higher mean averages of depressive symptoms than ART fathers of singletons (1.26 vs 1.22) but their scores were comparable to those of control fathers, which were 1.37 for twins and 1.26 for singletons. “Furthermore, fathers of two-month old twins in both ART and control groups reported significantly more impaired social dysfunction than fathers of singletons,” said Dr Unkila Kallio. At one year, the ART and control fathers of twins also had higher levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms and sleeping difficulties than did the fathers of singletons.

“Mental health of mothers, irrespective of ART, seemed to be resilient to the effects of parity, prematurity or health problems of the newborns,” said Dr Unkila Kallio. “Concerning fathers, the control fathers of premature babies (usually twins) had more impaired social dysfunction than ART fathers. Similarly, problematic health of the newborns induced higher levels of anxiety symptoms and sleeping problems in control fathers of twins. Thus, fathers of ART twins seemed to cope better with child-related problems than did the controls.

“It may be that counselling for the option of a twin pregnancy, as well as its medical and psychosocial risks before attending for ART, may have a decisive importance for a couple’s ability to realise the consequences of a twin birth and, in the case of a twin pregnancy, to help the couple to adapt to twin parenthood, thus explaining the findings in ART couples. It is possible that many fathers of spontaneous twin pregnancies may lack this knowledge, although mothers do participate in maternity clinics services and so may be better counselled and supported,” said Dr Unkila Kallio.

“During pregnancy, the fathers had similar mental health in all groups. Being the father of newborn and one-year old twins, irrespective of ART, was associated first with higher averages of depressive symptoms and social dysfunction, later also to sleeping difficulties and anxiety symptoms when compared to singletons. Becoming a father means a big change in man‘s internal world and in relations to others. Transition to parenthood may be demanding for fathers and especially so for fathers of twins. They often have to bear economical responsibility for the family, as well as responsibility to be more available and to participate in infant care. Fathers usually experience less social support than mothers, and may have difficulties in coping with these increasing demands.”

Dr Unkila Kallio concluded: “For some couples it is difficult to overcome the emotional pain that infertility and its treatments bring, even though parenthood is finally achieved. As ART has become more common and ART parents are seen in all well-baby clinics, we need to consider how these parents, especially fathers, could be supported in the best possible way to avoid the harmful effects of hurt self-esteem or feelings of insecurity about parenthood. The present study on mental health of parents with twins is a part of a larger multi-dimensional study, exploring the early environment of babies born by ART.”

Sarah De Potter | alfa
Further information:
http://www.eshre.com

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht When wheels and heads are spinning - DFG research project on motion sickness in automated driving
22.05.2019 | Technische Universität Berlin

nachricht A new approach to targeting cancer cells
20.05.2019 | University of California - Riverside

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Self-repairing batteries

UTokyo engineers develop a way to create high-capacity long-life batteries

Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...

Im Focus: Quantum Cloud Computing with Self-Check

With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.

Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...

Im Focus: Accelerating quantum technologies with materials processing at the atomic scale

'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.

However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...

Im Focus: A step towards probabilistic computing

Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future

When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...

Im Focus: Recording embryonic development

Scientists develop a molecular recording tool that enables in vivo lineage tracing of embryonic cells

The beginning of new life starts with a fascinating process: A single cell gives rise to progenitor cells that eventually differentiate into the three germ...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Summit charts a course to uncover the origins of genetic diseases

22.05.2019 | Life Sciences

New study finds distinct microbes living next to corals

22.05.2019 | Life Sciences

Stellar waltz with dramatic ending

22.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>