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Benefits of having kids at old age


In the present-day world, it suffices to say people now seem to be more inclined to getting married at an early age, have children as quickly as possible, so they could ‘move on’ with life. That is often the explanation provided by such persons.

That is admirable and it has its merits. But on the other hand, women who give birth at an older age seem also to have reasons to be happy. Some scientists have said that there are some derivable benefits when women have kids at a later age, like when they are above 40. They note that such women tend to raise happier children.

In the study, researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark observed 4,741 children of old and young mothers. They examined the children born to these two divisions of parents when they clocked 7, 11 and 15. They did comparison between children born to older women and those born to younger women.

At the end of the exercise, they found that children of older parents tend to have lesser behavioural, social and emotional problems because of the more tender and loving way their mothers tend to relate with them, including the less likelihood to scold them. These, according to the researchers, could make the children happier than those being raised by parents who are likely to see scolding and corporal punishment as the way to go.

One of the researchers, Professor Dion Sommer, said on Mail Online, “We know that people become more mentally flexible with age, are more tolerant of other people and thrive better emotionally themselves. That’s why psychological maturity may explain why older mothers do not scold and physically discipline their children as much.

“This style of parenting can thereby contribute to a positive psychosocial environment which affects the children’s upbringing.”

Some others who reacted to the study linked it to greater experience, maturity and possibility of having more time for the baby, which might not be when they were younger and probably still new in the workforce.

Although the associated pain and risks of pregnancy at old age could make it a somewhat painful experience, in yet another study, some researchers at the University College London and Birkbeck, University of London, also found that older mothers tend to make better mothers.

The study involved 1,100 children born to older women, aged 40 and above and 38,000 children born to younger women, all in Britain. The children were aged between nine months and five years.

At the end of the study, one of the researchers, Dr. Alastair Sutcliffe, said they found that children of older women are treated with more maturity and they turn out to be better in certain things. He said even though older mothers may not have the strength to run after the children, they tend to be better at identifying and avoiding potentially risky situations. He told Mail Online.

He said, “We have clear evidence that there are more desirable outcomes for children of older mothers compared with younger ages. We can reassure older women that their children are probably better off.

“Also, we found a continuum which showed a link between the older ages of mothers and better outcomes. It was the effect of age per se. The big question is why? Older mothers appear to have good parenting skills, they may be less impulsive, calmer and have more life experience that better equips them for the role.

“More women are giving birth at older ages, this isn’t going to go away, for many reasons. The evidence suggests that when the enormous difficulties of pregnancy and birth are over, they can make better mothers.”

While this is particularly beneficial to the children, another study has also shown that such older women have something to benefit if they give birth at that later age. A study by the American Geriatrics Society showed that when women have a baby after they clock 35, it helps to boost their brain power. This difference was traced to an increase in certain hormones that flood their system during pregnancy, which was found to have an effect on their brain’s chemistry and function.

Such women were also found to have an increased ability to acquire knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses and they were said to have better verbal memory.

The lead researcher, Dr. Roksana Karim, in a post on Mail Online, said, “While it is not enough to suggest that women wait until after 35 years of age to close their family growth, our finding of a positive effect of later age at last pregnancy on late-life cognition is novel and substantial.

“It has been suggested that functional brain changes induced by reproductive experiences have lifelong effects, particularly in terms of improvement in memory and learning. Therefore it is biologically plausible that a late pregnancy might offer protection against cognitive decline in later life.

“There are robust changes in the sex steroid hormonal environment during pregnancy and in the post-partum period. Pregnancy induces a tremendous surge in oestradiol and progesterone levels.”

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