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Parents of twins report more mental health symptoms than parents of singletons
Date:7/7/2008

gletons (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, prematu
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
34-932-308-810
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology
Source:Eurekalert

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