Older mothers may be healthier
For years women have been warned not to leave it too late to have children, but a new study suggests older mothers may be healthier. Many females feel under pressure to start a family due to fertility levels decreasing, but often decide to wait due to career or financial pressures. While the biological clock may be ticking, new research conducted by Ohio State University determines that those who decide to delay motherhood until their late 20s or early 30s are more likely to enjoy better health when they turn 40. Those who had given birth for the first time between the age of 15 and 24 faced the prospect of poorer health later on in life.
“We still need to be concerned that women who are having births in their early 20s may face more health challenges as they reach middle age than those who wait longer,” explained Dr Kristi Williams, study co-author and an associate professor of sociology at the university.
The study – which was published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior - analysed data from 3,348 women who took part in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979. The women who were investigated had given birth between the ages of 15 and 35, and were interviewed every couple of years from 1979 until 2008.
Once they reached the age of 40, they were asked to rate their health on a scale from poor to excellent. The results of women aged 15 to 19 when they first became mothers was compared to that of first-time mothers aged 20 to 24 and also 25 to 35. Women in the oldest age group were generally found to have better health than their younger counterparts.
Results also showed that females who had been married when they started a family experienced better health once they reached their 40s.