Women who have their first baby after age 35 are 2.4 times more likely than mothers younger than 19 to develop postpartum psychosis that could put their newborn at risk, say Swedish researchers who analyzed data from nearly 750,000 first-time mothers.
"The risk of developing psychosis during the first 90 days (after childbirth) increased with age," wrote the researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Agence France Presse reported.
Postpartum psychosis is a serious mental disorder that involves delusions, hallucinations, severe eating or sleeping disturbances, and suicidal tendencies. Immediate medical attention is required, including anti-psychotic drugs and hospitalization, the researchers said.
About 80 percent of new mothers experience some form of mental disturbance or mild depression, but only about one in 1,000 develops actual psychosis in the first months after they give birth, according to the study, published in the Public Library of Science medical journal.
The researchers noted that most women who develop postpartum psychosis have prior psychotic histories, AFP reported.