There have been plenty of studies over the years that have pointed out the risks of bearing children after the age of 30. 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. But are there are any benefits of having children at an older age?
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 reasons women are willing to try getting pregnant over 30.
Benefits of having children at an older age
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 analysed 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. They were also more adept in academics and more likely to pursue a college education. They even recorded higher marks in standardised 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 medical advancements and studies to support some of the benefits of late pregnancies, hopeful mothers of an older age can confidently consider expanding their families without being met with negativity.
If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them with us.
Also READ: Is giving birth in your 40s the new normal in Singapore?