Pregnancy and Your Mental Health
Birds do it, bees do it ... Having offspring is supposed to be the most natural thing in the world. And for most women, it is. But there are times when Mother Nature throws a fly in the ointment, challenging some with infertility and others with the pain of postpartum depression or psychosis.

Infertility and Stress

Infertility is described as trying unsuccessfully to conceive for one year (or six months if you're 35 or older), or as able to get but not stay pregnant, according to

Trying to get pregnant, worrying about getting pregnant, wondering what's wrong with you or your partner—these circumstances all create stress. If you're undergoing assisted reproduction, you may be stressed about whether it will work or the substantial amount of money you're spending on the procedures.

Infertility and Depression

Unless you consciously make an effort to stay positive about your situation, you can become depressed, and depression is a serious mental health condition that can negatively affect your health and your ability to conceive.

Depression is characterized by unshakable negative thoughts, sadness, lethargy and a loss of interest in daily activities, according to Psychiatric If these symptoms continue without treatment, your depression can worsen and get in the way of your ability to function.

Postpartum Depression

Some women suffer from depression after they give birth. With postpartum depression, according to Medline Plus, women may experience moderate to severe depressive symptoms anytime from soon after delivery until a year after giving birth. Most of the time it starts within four weeks after delivery.

Postpartum depression is a serious mood disorder and requires treatment, unlike the "postpartum blues," which affects 50 to 85 percent of women after they give birth, according to MedlinePlus. But the relatively mild feelings of anxiety, irritation, tearfulness and restlessness that accompany postpartum blues (as opposed to the greater intensity of these symptoms with postpartum depression) go away quickly on their own.

Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is the most serious of the postpartum mood disorders, but fortunately also the rarest, according to Symptoms usually develop within the first two to three weeks after delivery but they can appear any time within the first three months after delivery.

Psychosis is a condition in which the person loses touch with reality and experiences delusions and hallucinations. With postpartum psychosis, women may also experience periods of delirium or mania. Postpartum psychosis can have tragic outcomes: reports that postpartum psychosis has a 5 percent suicide rate and a 4 percent infanticide rate.

Though many women with the disorder realize something is wrong, fewer than 20 percent seek help, according to Yet women can respond well to proper treatment.

If you have experienced fertility or a post-partum mood disorder, take comfort in knowing you are not alone. According to the American Pregnancy Association, every year 6 million women in the U.S. deal with infertility and 660,000 mothers experience postpartum depression; and between one and two women per 1,000 who have given birth experience postpartum psychosis, according to

For more information visit American Pregnancy Association,, Psychiatric and