In a recent study, Swedish researchers found that first-time mothers over the age of 35 have a higher risk of postpartum psychosis than younger first-time mothers.
We know that women with a history of severe depression or previous psychosis are at greater risk. This study aimed at identifying factors that might increase the risk of postpartum psychosis in women who did not have a history of psychiatric hospitalization.
Here’s what the researchers found:
–Almost 50 per cent (0.6 of every 1,000 births) became ill for the first time.
–After 90 days had passed, the risk of developing a psychosis decreased for all mothers.
–There was a correlation between age and risk of postpartum psychosis: those who were 35 or older when they had their first child were 2.4 times more likely to suffer a psychosis than first-time mothers of 19 or younger.
–High birth weight and maternal diabetes was associated with a lower risk of psychosis.
–“The most important finding is that the risk of psychosis increases sharply in close relation with the birth of a first child for women both with and without a previous psychiatric diagnosis”