New research shows benefits of birthing children at an older age
New findings from Mikko Myrskylä of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, and Kieron Barclay of the London School of Economics may surprise you
There have been plenty of sources and studies over the years that have pointed out the risks of bearing children after the age of 30-35. Among these risks for older mothers-to-be: infertility and miscarriage, premature delivery and stillbirth, gestational diabetes, bleeding complications, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, C-section, chromosomal abnormalities in babies, growth retardation in babies, and delivering multiples.
While that list seems lengthy and overly intimidating, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have kids past this age. In fact, the influx in mothers over the age of 30 has grown exponentially over the past 40-50 years, and on a global scale to boot:
Obviously, a number of factors work to support the apparent growth in these in statistics. Medical advancements, mortality rates, and economic factors are just some of the reasons moms around the globe are willing to try birthing kids after 30.
While there has been seemingly nothing but negative findings regarding older mothers, new research challenges some of the widely believed and understood ideas of the past.
In a new article called “Advanced Maternal Age and Offspring Outcomes: Reproductive Aging and Counterbalancing Period Trends”, Mikko Myrskylä of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research and Kieron Barclay of the London School of Economics collected data from more than 1.5 million Swedes born between 1960 and 1991.
Their research analyzed babies and examined the age of their mothers when they gave birth. Next, they observed a number of attributes of those children. For example, height, physical fitness, and academics.
The study yielded some pretty interesting results. The research indicated that the children of older mothers were typically taller, more adept in academics, more likely to pursue a college education, and even recorded higher marks in standardized testing than the children of younger mothers.
As Quartz notes, though, there are some variables to keep in mind regarding these studies:
“Sweden is at outlier in some respects—education is free at all levels, and as a result the rate at which people attend post-secondary school is higher than the OECD average. Between the 1960s and 2000s, tertiary education enrollment increased substantially; in 2012, about 33% of Swedes had completed post-secondary education, according to the study.”
There is still more research to be done in the field, but it seems as though that the stigma of older mothers is fading away with the times. With advancements in so many medical fields, and studies like this to support some of the benefits of giving birth later in life, hopeful mothers of an older age can confidently consider expanding their family without being barraged with risks and negative possibilities.
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