Association between infertility treatment and symptoms of postpartum depression

In a population-based sample, infertility treatment as recorded on the birth certificate was not associated with symptoms of postpartum depression.


Courtney D. Lynch, Ph.D., M.P.H., Mona R. Prasad, D.O., M.P.H.

Volume 102, Issue 5, Pages 1416–1421



To examine the association between infertility treatment and subsequent symptoms of postpartum depression.


Cross-sectional study.


Not applicable.


Women who delivered live-born infants from 2009–2010.



Main Outcome Measure(s):

Odds of symptoms of postpartum depression.


Data were obtained from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS). Data on infertility treatment were available for 16 states in which mothers were sampled 2 to 4 months after delivery to complete the standardized PRAMS questionnaire. Infertility treatment status was as reported on the birth certificate. Maternal mental health was obtained via the maternal questionnaire. Data were analyzed in Stata 12.0 with sample weights to produce population-based estimates. Among the 42,614 women who resided in states in which infertility treatment data were collected, infertility treatment status was missing for 2,277 (5.3%) women. Among the 40,337 eligible women, 12.9% reported feeling down, depressed or sad, and 6.0% reported feeling hopeless. These women were considered to have symptoms of postpartum depression. Even after adjustment for confounders, there was no independent association between infertility treatment status and symptoms of postpartum depression. In contrast, having a child admitted to neonatal intensive care, smoking, experiencing a higher number of stressors in the 12 months before delivery, and a history of having prepregnancy mental health care were associated with an increased odds of having symptoms of postpartum depression.


In a population-based sample of U.S. women, conceiving with the help of infertility treatment did not increase the odds of experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression.

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