Are older mums more depressed?

Worries about health and the future make older mums more prone to depression than their younger peers, says new study

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Older mums with children under 5 are more likely to struggle with depression than those who have their children younger, a new study has suggested. Anxiety over health issues (for both themselves and their babies) and the future is thought to be a factor in older mums’ depression risk.

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“There is a lot of rhetoric talking about all the biological risk and that is really discomforting for women,” explained Giulia Muraca, a PhD student who ran the study.

Giulia asked nearly 8,000 women about their lifestyle and whether they had experienced depression in the past 12 months. She found that women who gave birth in their late 30s and early 40s were five times more likely to be depressed than younger mums with similar lifestyles.

Giulia suggested that older mums need more support to help recognise any signs of depression earlier.

The average age of first-time mums is going up as women put off having children until they’re ready and more financially secure. This is coupled with medical knowledge that enables women to have a healthy pregnancy regardless of their age.

Though there can be more risks associated with being an older mum, you’ll be offered more tests and monitoring for your own peace of mind. Plus, studies show that older mums make better mums. Last year, research revealed that children of older mums tend to be healthier and need fewer hospital visits that those born to younger parents.

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