Kids born from older women might be better off than those having younger mothers in certain aspects, says a new study published in the journal Population and Development Review.
Having children at an older age might have its perks. However, pregnancy at a later age is generally thought to entail risks of complications; for instance, mothers giving birth at 40 years of age face the risk of their children having the Down syndrome. But, despite the potential problems, children thus born might have their own advantages over others.
When the researchers of the new study pooled data from more than 1.5 million Swedish adults, they found that those born when their mothers were in their late 30s or 40s followed certain trends: they were taller, fitter, and also had a higher education level; they were more likely to go to college than those with younger mothers. This does not mean that this tendency is absolute; rather, the findings only suggest a link between these traits.
This study might be viewed as good news to contemporary societies since couples are choosing to delay having children. The average age at the birth of one’s first child has been shifting past the 20s to 30 years old or even more, depending on the country.
It is to be noted that the advantages also reflect within families: the results show that siblings born when their mothers were older were more educated than the older siblings.
Study author Mikko Myrskyla explains that these apparent advantages might possibly be the result of being ‘born 20 years later’. This means that developed countries will have witnessed considerable headway in the fields of health and education together with an increase in height, as has been observed in the past.
Another good news is that the disadvantages of having older moms might be balanced out by the advantages.
On the other hand, Myrskyla adds that the trend appears to be affected by the time period at the birth of the person.
Also, the women who displayed these trends in the study might actually be from a select group. Brenda Volling, director of the Center for Human Growth and Development at the University of Michigan, explains that this study should not be used for family-planning purposes since reaching the 40s entails a much lesser chance of conceiving, and that the women in the study were probably extremely healthy such that they were able to bear ‘robust’ children.
Along these lines, Myrskyla added that they were not making any recommendations based on their study, and that their findings only suggest that children born from older mothers might be having certain advantages.