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

rity 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
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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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