In encouraging news to women who have children later in life, a recent prospective study suggests that older first-time moms don't face an increased risk of postpartum depression. After surveying more than 500 women, researchers in Australia found that first-time mothers who were age 37 or older were no more likely to develop postpartum depression four months after giving birth than their younger counterparts. Reuters reports today:
The idea that older first-time mothers might face a higher depression risk has been largely based on speculation and "popular culture anecdote," according to study leader Catherine A. McMahon, an associate professor of psychology at Macquarie University in Australia.
There's been some speculation, for instance, that older mothers might have a tougher time adjusting to motherhood -- after, presumably, being in the workforce for a long time. Or they might be more "set in their ways" than younger women, and have more difficulty dealing with the lifestyle changes that a baby brings.
But, McMahon said, "there is no research evidence to support these speculations."
Previously: Older or overweight moms may face breastfeeding difficulties
Photo by A. Blight