Preliminary study suggests risk of depression is five times as high among women who have children later in life
Mothers over 40 at higher risk of depression
Women who have children later in life may face a higher risk of depression than younger mothers, according to research that drew on a health survey of thousands of Canadian women.
In the study, scientists asked whether women who had given birth in the past five years had experienced an episode of depression in the previous 12 months. They found that women aged between 40 and 44 years old were five times as likely to have been depressed as younger women.
Contradictory in evidence
Previous research has found contradictory evidence for the risk of depression in older mothers. In a study published in November,Catherine McMahon at Macquarie University in Australia found rates of major depressive illness were below average in mothers aged 37 and older in the four months after they gave birth.
In the latest study, Giulia Muraca-Muir, who led the study at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, trawled the records of 7,936 women whose details were held by the Canadian Community Health Survey, a national project designed to give a representative picture of health across the country.
- We saw a fivefold increase in risk among women aged 40 to 44, compared with those in the 35 to 39-year-old group," Muraca-Muir said to the Guardian. Details of the study were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver.
More older mothers
The number of babies born to women aged 40 to 44 is increasing. In England and Wales alone rose the number of birth from 9,220 in 1990 to 25,973 in 2010, according to the Office for National Statistics. The number of babies born to women aged 35 to 39 rose from 51,905 to 115,841 over the same period.
Read the whole article in The Guardian here