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Having A Baby Later Makes You Brainier

Many experts wouldn’t actively encourage women to give birth in their late 30’s but a recent study has revealed that women who had their last baby after the age of 35 years, showed evidence of improved mental ability.

According to a study by the University of Southern California, the ‘study provides strong evidence that there is a positive association between later age at last pregnancy and late-life cognition’.

The study involved 830 post-menopausal women, and in terms of verbal memory and cognition, those who had their last baby over 35 years outperformed 24-year-old+ mums and those who and their first baby between 15-25 years of age.

Is This True?

This all has to do with the hormones estrogen (which has a beneficial impact on brain chemistry, function and structure) and progesterone (linked with growth and development of brain tissue), which get released in abundance during pregnancy. An outpouring of estrogen and progesterone, especially in later life, appears to be beneficial, said Roksana Karim, lead author of the study.

However, despite the good news for older mums, Karim adds that “we would certainly not recommend that women wait until they’re 35 to close their family”.

The Other Side Of The Story

John Mirowsky, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin, agrees, saying to Psychology Today that a woman is biologically at her prime to have a baby in her late teens or early twenties.

“Women in their twenties are least likely to have developed chronic health problems that would put them or their babies at risk, and they have the lowest rates of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, and infertility.”

However, this age tends not to be the sociological “best age” with many twentysomethings considered too scattered and irresponsible to have a child.

Putting all the research together, Mirowsky notes that the optimum age at first birth in terms of the mother’s long-term physical well-being was 31 years old.

We don’t know if there’s really a ‘magic’ age to have a baby but for those mums who had their kids later, at least you can look forward to more brain power ahead.

What do you think is the best age to have a baby? Tell us in the comments below.

  • My first was at 19, 21 then 33 and last bundle just now, born one month off 36. I find I can handle my nights now, my patience is a little stronger but symptoms through pregnancy where stronger

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  • Having a baby at any age is life-changing and a real eye-opener. I had my first at 21, second at 25 and my third at 31. I feel there are positives to any age when having a baby. but with that also some down-sides. I had a lot more energy when I was younger, but also was not financially stable. Having my youngest son at 31 has been an absolute delight and truly felt at ease when he arrived. We were financially stable, my husband was very secure in his job and could take a lot of leave after my youngest was born. But in saying that my last pregnancy was incredibly hard on my body. I had terrible morning sickness, anemia and followed with my youngest being born at 25 weeks and 5 days. It was very stressful having a baby in NICU and I don’t think I would have coped particularly well if that had occured when i was in my 20’s.

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  • I had my first child at 15 and my last at 31. Having a child later I believe is much more beneficial to mother and child. One has more patience, wisdom and life experience however in saying that it is up to the individual.

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  • It is so difficult!

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  • I think this is so contriversial if I had a chance I would choose to have my baby slightly earlier in my early 30s instead of mid 30s

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  • When it’s possible. I started at aged 26 and was lucky enough to finally fall pregnant when I was 30. And that was via IVF, so absolutely a miracle. So when you can have a baby, is a good time.

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  • circumstances differ for everyone so no age is perfect for all.

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  • I think it’s best to have your baby when you feel ready. I hate it when you’re expected to have your baby when everyone says you should. You know if you are ready both physically, mentally and psychologically. Just do what your body feels is right for you. There should be no pressure on you

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  • I just had my “last” last baby at 35… does that mean I miss out on the extra brain power? I’ve become a lot smarter after my last (now middle) baby at age 31!

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  • I had my first baby when i was 28 years old.

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  • Wow! I’m absolutely shocked. Everyone always says it’s better to be pregnant at an early age.

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  • Lol, I had my first baby at 40 !

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  • I actually agree with this I had my last child at 39 and I feel this fits with me

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  • So good to hear, we are trying and I’m in my 30s

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  • So glad to read this as I was 31 when I gave birth to my only child.

    Reply

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