Do a ticking biological clock and a worried parent force you to have children before you’re ready? Something significant like having children is up to the parents and it’s a very personal choice. You can be married and not have children, you can have children and be a single parent, or you can adopt children and not give birth to your own – it’s all your decision. There shouldn’t be something like your age or societal pressure that pulls you into parenting when you’re not ready. This is not only unfair to you but it isn’t fair to your children either. Are you too in a similar situation? Then don’t worry too much about it because there are studies that actually prove that having babies after 35 can help in improving your cognitive abilities (1).
According to this study that was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, last pregnancy after the age of 35 is positively associated with verbal memory of the mother. The study was conducted among 830 healthy, naturally menopausal women. It also found out that the use of oral contraceptives had a positive effect on their cognition in later life.
Pregnancy And Age Of The Mother
Women who had their last baby after the age of 35 were found to have better verbal memory in their later life. Those who had their first baby after 24 years showed better executive function that included attention control, working memory, reasoning, and problem-solving when compared to those who became first-time mommies between the age of 15 to 24 (2).
The relation between cognitive abilities and childbirth is explained in connection with the hormonal surge that happens during pregnancy (3). The levels of major female hormones like estrogen and progesterone increase during pregnancy and the timing of this surge help your cognitive abilities as you get older.
Biological Risks When Having Children Late
Even though this study says there’s a positive effect of having kids after 35 on your cognition in the later life, it doesn’t mean that you should have babies late. When a study was conducted to evaluate the risks of having children late in life, women above 35 years of age were seen as poor candidates due to a decline in fertility (4). Although women of this age group can still successfully have children, there are certain disadvantages that tag along with the discussed cognitive advantages.
Social Advantages If You’re Having Children Late
If you keep aside the risks and let the medical advancements deal with them, having children a little late in your life is a wonderful option. You can be fully prepared both mentally and financially to raise a child and you will also have so much of life experience to deal with situations when compared to a 20-year-old young woman. Children born to older parents are often found to do better in school than those born to younger couples (5).
Once you get pregnant when you’re in your late teens or early twenties, there’s a big break in your career. You might not be able to work as you would if you didn’t have the responsibility of taking care of a baby. Once you have achieved some of your goals and then have a child, you can be a strong role model for your own kid. Also, you shouldn’t succumb to societal pressure and have a baby. Because only you’re going to be involved in giving birth and raising your child and nobody else. Also, with the latest advancements in medical science, you can always be positive about successfully conceiving a child at a later age.