Becoming a mom at a later age is often termed as risky for mother and child. But new research brings positive news for those opting for motherhood in their 40s saying that their babies have better physical and emotional health than babies born to women in their 20s.
The researchers, from Birkbeck, University of London, and University College London said that children born from women in their 40s were 22 percent less likely to injure themselves and a third less likely to be admitted to the hospital by the age of three.
The research team also found that children of older moms had better language development skills than those of younger moms. They also found less parent-child conflict as the mother’s age increased.
Professor Jacqueline Barnes, one of the study authors said that the research was conducted keeping in mind that the average age of mothers had increased in the past few years with more and more opting for late motherhood. In England and Wales, according to the latest figures by the Office for National Statistics the average age of mothers is now 30, the highest ever recorded.
The researcher says,
“It has demonstrated that, while there are many medical reasons why close attention should be given to the physical well-being of older mothers and their infants both during pregnancy and immediately after birth, an increase in older motherhood should not necessarily be a cause for concern in relation to subsequent parenting.”
“Indeed, it is likely that older mothers will be preparing their children well for preschool and then school experiences in a warm and responsive home environment.”
She also adds that older mothers have more life experience and that may be the reason why their children may have fewer injuries and emotionally more stable.
“The findings of fewer unintentional injuries and fewer socio-emotional problems with increasing maternal age may suggest that women with more life experiences are able to draw upon a wider range of support that can help to reduce some of the stress of parenting.”
In 1975 in the UK women typically gave birth at the age of 26-27 but the age has been steadily rising. The same has been the case all across the world with the average age of mothers rising with more women opting for stable careers before motherhood.
Over the years another reason for women delaying pregnancy has been the rising cost of raising children and instability in relationships.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) said increasing numbers of women were delaying having children until later in life, with the fertility rate for women aged 40 and over has nearly trebled since 1991.
While pregnancy-related complications for mothers who give birth later in life cannot be totally sidelined, the study assures that all is not wrong when women choose to become a mom at a time when they are ready and may actually give a better life to their children.