Can Depression Affect Getting Pregnant, Or Will Your Body Power Through?

Ad failed to load

Depression is an illness that radiates into every aspect of life, dimming the pleasure found in work and relationships. Because many women live with depression for much of their lives, they may wonder, can depression affect getting pregnant? In other words, can mental illness cause or contribute to infertility?

Let's start by defining infertility. According to The Office on Women's Health, if you're under 35, infertility means you've tried for a year without results. (Keep in mind that this doesn't mean you won't get pregnant, just that you might consider seeing a fertility specialist.) For women over 35, six months of unprotected sex that doesn't lead to conception prompts a visit to the fertility doctor. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around six percent of married women aged 15 to 44 are infertile, and almost seven million women have sought fertility services at some point. So if you seek out a fertility specialist, you're by no means alone.

Romper spoke with Dr. Maria F. Costantini-Ferrando of Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey (RMANJ) about the possible connection between depression and fertility. She writes in an email that though doctors don't yet know enough to draw certain conclusions, some data might indicate a relationship. For instance:

Ad failed to load

On the connection between anxiety disorders and fertility, Costantini-Ferrando notes that while no studies have proven a cause-and-effect relationship, elevation of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline could potentially have a negative impact on your reproductive system.

Costantini-Ferrando is a researcher as well as a practicing fertility specialist, and recently presented new research at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine establishing that "whatever the association between stress and infertility may be ... treatment can overcome these issues. In other words, your true reproductive potential will not be decreased by your degree of psychological distress."

Ad failed to load
Leah Kelley/Pexels

In particular, she suggests in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment for patients suffering from infertility (which may or may not be caused by depression), because IVF balances the hormonal environment.

Unfortunately, infertility may also cause anxiety and depression in women, as noted by Harvard Health, which mentioned a 200 couple study in which half of the women surveyed described their fertility struggle as "the most upsetting experience of their lives." That's serious stuff, and Costantini-Ferrando urges doctors and patients not to forget the possible psychological consequences of infertility. RMANJ offers support groups to patients undergoing fertility treatments, as well as psychological counseling, yoga, and acupuncture for stress management.

Ad failed to load

A CDC survey showed that one in 10 women ages 18 to 44 suffered depression last year. Though depression may or may not directly affect a woman's ability to get pregnant, fertility treatments are still a viable option.

Costantini-Ferrando signs off with these words: "The world of infertility can feel like a very lonely one, but it does not have to be."

If you're struggling with trying to get pregnant, you can find help. Resolve.org is the website of The National Infertility Association, offering resources and support groups across the country to women struggling with this heartbreaking issue.

Ad failed to load
RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association on YouTube

Be sure to speak with your doctor if you're suffering from depression and/or infertility. Nobody should have to suffer alone and your mental health is worth reaching out.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

A Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the te…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

These Photos Of North West Then & Now Will Take You On A Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

When Kim Kardashian welcomed her first daughter, North West, with her husband, Kanye West, in 2013, her whole life was changed. The social media and reality TV star became a mom for the first time and her Instagram presence took a very adorable turn.…
By Casey Suglia

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

This Is What It Means If Your Pregnancy Test Changes Overnight

The time between when a woman suspects she might be pregnant and when it is confirmed for sure is the longest of her life. Regardless of whether you are hoping for a positive or a negative result, the odds are good that you are sweating bullets when …
By Shannon Evans

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack