Older mothers at no greater risk of depression

A study due to be published in the Journal Fertility and Sterility has followed 541 first time mothers, 266 of whom conceived naturally and 275 who had underwent fertility treatment. The study concluded mothers over the age of 37 were no more likely to suffer from post-natal depression than their younger counterparts.

Over the years there has been extensive media coverage and hysteria suggesting that older mothers are more likely to suffer from depression or suffer depressive symptoms after the birth of their first baby. The opinions are often attributed to the fact that older mothers generally spent more time in the work place and subsequently face greater difficulties adjusting.

The large study that was conducted in Australia, asked participants to complete a survey in their third trimester of pregnancy and four months after the birth of their children had an interview designed to diagnose depression. The results of the study has finally provided empirical evidence to suggest that older first time mothers are no more likely to get depression than younger first time mothers regardless of conception method.

However it has been noted that older mothers are more likely than younger women to have complications with their pregnancy which on the whole has been linked to depression. Additionally further research needs to be conducted to establish how older women cope with returning to work or how they cope with the stress of having younger children while going through the menopause.

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