Some mothers who prefer giving birth at a young age enjoy friendly mother-daughter company due to a smaller age gap, but a new study revealed benefits of children of older mothers. Children born to older mothers may fare better later in life than their peers, a study says.
A study conducted by the researchers Mikko Myrskylä and Kieron Barclay found that, in spite of the risk of complications, mothers who give birth in their late 30s and 40s have children who tend to be more educated, more fit and taller, compared with their peers born to younger mothers.
With data from more than 1.5 million Swedish adults who participated in the study, the researchers found that people born to mothers age 30 and older tend to have higher grades in high school and have a greater chance of getting into college.
Children born to moms who are older are also more educated compared with their elder siblings. People who were born when their mothers were in their mid-40s have 1.5 more years of education compared with their siblings born when their mothers were younger.
Looking at fitness and height factors among children born to older moms, the children tend to grow taller and have fitter bodies in adulthood, based on data from Sweden's military draft of men who were born when their mothers were in their late 30s to 40s.
According to the researchers, people chose to give birth at older ages. For instance, the average age of mothers in Germany and the United Kingdom who gave birth to their first child is 30 years old.
Although many mothers are choosing to give birth later, the researchers don't recommend the findings of the study to determine family-planning decisions, as giving birth later in life is associated with complications and birth defects such as autism and Down Syndrome.
"We are not making any recommendations on when to have children, or whether to have them at all," said Myrskylä.
The findings of the study were published April 8 in the journal Population and Development Review.
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