The study in question involved asking women who had given birth during the past five years if they had experienced a bout of depression in the previous year. Interestingly, the researchers found that women who were aged 40 – 44 were five times more likely to have been depressed than younger women.
Although these findings are preliminary and are yet to be published, various other studies have highlighted similar findings.
According to study leader Giulia Muraca-Muir, if the results are accurate they may reflect growing angst among women who fall pregnant later on in life and are concerned about the potential health risks to their child. It has long since been suggested that the later women have children, the higher the risk of complications – so perhaps the increased strain of knowing this could be resulting in higher depression rates after they have given birth.
Though women who tend to have their babies later are generally better educated, more likely to be married and have more disposable income (all which typically reduce the risk of depression), the happiness and comfort brought about by those factors seemed to be diminished in older mothers who may have experienced nine months of anxiety whilst pregnant.
So what is the solution? If the findings are found to carry some real weight, the researchers have said that GPs and families should start offering this rising group of women an increased level of support.
“We’ve identified a potential high-risk group that is growing rapidly,” Said Muraca-Muir. “We need to be able to counsel women on what the psychological consequences of late pregnancy might be.”
If you are a parent and are concerned that you may be suffering from postnatal depression or depression, please visit our fact-sheets where you can find information and about symptoms, causes and treatment options.
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