A report out of a university in Australia has reassuring findings for mothers who had their first child at age 37 or over: They were no more likely to suffer from postpartum depression than younger women, and having fertility treatment to help them conceive didn’t increase their odds of depression either. The study looked at more than 500 women and was led by Catherine A. McMahon, an associate professor of psychology at Macquarie University.
This is good news, for sure, and it helps dispel myths about older first-time mothers, noted Reuters.com – namely that a woman who gives birth a little later in life may be more set in her ways and find the transition to motherhood – difficult under the best of circumstances for most women – even harder to make, leading to postpartum depression. The report also noted that older women are at higher risk for pregnancy complications like preterm birth and preeclampsia. But the study’s findings didn’t support any of those factors making a woman more likely to experience postpartum depression during the first four months following delivery.
According to Babycenter.com, symptoms of postpartum depression include:
• Irritability or hypersensitivity
• Difficulty concentrating
• Anxiety and worry
• Crying or tearfulness
• Negative feelings such as sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, or guilt
• Loss of interest in activities you usually enjoy
• Difficulty sleeping (especially returning to sleep)
• Fatigue or exhaustion
• Changes in appetite or eating habits
• Headaches, stomachaches, muscle or backaches