If you are thinking of starting a family then your chances of conceiving are high if both you and your partner are physically and mentally fit.

But depression in male partners could lower pregnancy chances, a new study shows. Couples where the male partner had major depression were 60 per cent less likely to conceive compared to cases where male partner did not have major depression.

Interestingly, depression in the female partner was not found to influence the rate of birth.

“Our study provides infertility patients and their physicians with new information to consider when making treatment decisions,” said Esther Eisenberg, at National Institutes of Health’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) in Maryland, US.

 

Pregnancy and Depression:

Up to 33 per cent of women experience clinical depression or anxiety at some point during pregnancy. However, less than 20 per cent of them seek treatment  and most often the treatment doled out to them is inadequate, according to a report in Parents.com.

“The myth that pregnant women must be happy is still really prevalent,” says Healy Smith, M.D., a reproductive psychiatrist at the Women’s Mental Health Clinic at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. “Because of that, treatment providers may be less likely to inquire into a woman’s mental state, and a woman might feel ashamed to bring it up.”

These sentiments were echoed by Dr. Gabby Farkas, a New York-based therapist who specializes in reproductive mental health issues.

“Patients tell us all the time that their family members tell them to ‘shake it off’ and get themselves together,” Farkas told Healthline.com. “Society at large thinks that pregnancy and having the baby is the happiest period of a woman’s life and that’s the only way to experience this. When in fact, women experience a whole spectrum of emotions during this time.”

But it’s important to treat depression and anxiety during pregnancy as it can harm both the baby and the mother.

“There are well documented, but often overlooked, consequences of untreated depression and anxiety during pregnancy for the fetus and the mother,” Smith said. Some of the risks to developing babies include low birth weight, poor adaptation outside the womb and even premature birth, reported Parents.com.