Researchers at Macquarie University have found no connection between maternal age and risk of depression. The study expressly focused on older women. A total of 500 mothers were included in the study. All of the study participants gave birth to their first child at the age of 37 or older.
When an older woman wants to get pregnant there are plenty of increased health risk to worry about, including potential chromosome disorders, but Catherine McMahon and her research partners say older women can cross post partum depression off that list. Data collected during the study suggests that older women are not more likely to suffer postpartum depression than younger women. Both natural and medically-aided conception was included in the study.
Researchers completed the study because of reports older women were more likely to suffer postpartum depression because they simply had a harder time dealing with giving up career for motherhood. No scientific study backed up the claims so researchers set out to banish it once and for all.
Of the women in the study, about half conceived naturally while the other half used fertility treatments to conceive. About 8% of the women in the study suffered from severe postpartum depression. This number is lower than the average number of postpartum depression cases as a whole.
Women in the study completed questionnaires in the third trimester and when their infants were four months of age. According to researchers, following the women longer; until they go back to work, could have a different result. There is also the possibility of increased depression risk if women wait too long to conceive and then cannot have children at all. These aspects of later-in-life pregnancies were not taken into consideration during the study.
Source: Catherine A. McMahon, Ph.D., Jacky Boivin, Ph.D., Frances L. Gibson, Ph.D., Jane R.W. Fisher, Ph.D., Karin Hammarberg, Ph.D., Karen Wynter, Ph.D., Douglas M. Saunders, M.D. Fertility and Sterility. 30 September, 2011.