Spontaneous pregnancy versus assisted reproductive technologies: implications on maternal mental health

Cozzolino, M, Troiano, G, Coccia, M E,
Women Health. Mar. 2021 doi: 10.1080/03630242.2021.1881025


Postpartum depression (PPD) is a major depressive disorder that affects women during the perinatal period. Our study aimed to evaluate the onset of psychological effects in spontaneous pregnancies in contrast with pregnancies resulting from in vitro fertilization (IVF). We carried out a prospective cohort study using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale to evaluate postpartum depression. Patients were divided into 3 different groups based on their conception method: group A included spontaneous pregnancies, group B included pregnancies after homologous IVF, and group C pregnancies after heterologous IVF. The study included 245 patients. In the first year postpartum the incidence of psychological disorders was different exclusively at discharge from hospital (24.8% A vs. 38.7 B vs. 19% C) [P < .05] and one year after childbirth (13.3% A vs. 3.4% B vs. 4.8% C) [P < .05]. The multifactorial analysis showed a significant positive association between psychological distress and advanced maternal age, low parental education, nulliparity, preterm delivery and low fetal weight at birth, multiple pregnancies and multiple births, low pain threshold, and high rate of requesting analgesia intrapartum [P < .05]. Our results suggest a high correlation between PPD and pregnancies resulting from homologous IVF at the time of discharge, whereas there is a higher chance that spontaneous pregnancies develop postpartum depression one year after delivery.