Parenting

Study Shows Some Benefits for Women Who Wait to Have Kids

Via DailyMail.com:

Mothers are often warned that delaying pregnancy until they are older means their children face increased health risks.
Now a study suggests these may be outweighed by advantages, with older women likely to have healthier, taller, better-educated children.

This is because in industrialised countries they are generally brought into a world where improving social conditions as time passes lead to better general health and education.

Children born to older mothers have a higher chance of Down’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure and diabetes in later life, and are also more likely to experience childhood cancer and autism.

But previous research into the optimum age to give birth has ignored the impact of societal changes over time, according to researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research and the London School of Economics.

They say that despite the risks, there are benefits to delaying having a baby, even for mothers aged over 40.

A ten-year difference in maternal age allows for a decade of changes in social and environmental conditions, although this would hold true only if they continue to improve.

This is sort of a variation on the “sixty is the new forty” theme, and a somewhat surprising one. It’s also a testament to how much and how quickly life has developed for the better in developed countries:

Now a study suggests these may be outweighed by advantages, with older women likely to have healthier, taller, better-educated children.

This is because in industrialised countries they are generally brought into a world where improving social conditions as time passes lead to better general health and education.

The researchers say that the risk of miscarriage and the struggle to conceive are still factors, but women who do conceive and have babies at a later age tend to be healthier and that is passed along to their children.

While the study doesn’t advocate waiting in general, it does offer some hope for women who are older and thinking of conceiving.

Professor Myrskyla said: ‘The benefits associated with being born in a later year outweigh the individual risk factors arising from being born to an older mother. We need to develop a different perspective on advanced maternal age.