Perhaps every woman has heard the age-old lecture on how having children while young equals healthier, happier babies. And while there is research proving that childbearing later in life has its dangers, studies likewise show that there are compelling benefits to the same.
Studies show that women who get pregnant when older cope better with the first part of motherhood. They worry less about their pregnancies, and are generally more positive about being parents and have a more positive outlook towards child-rearing.
Researchers monitored 4,741 mothers and children in Denmark, checking in when the children reached the ages of 7, 11 and 15, TIME reports. They found that older mothers used less verbal and physical punishment on their children compared to younger moms. The kids of older mothers also appeared to have fewer social, behavioral and emotional problems than the children born to young women, at least at the 7- and 11-year-old points.
The situations got trickier when it came to adolescents, particularly the 15-year-old mark. The researchers factored in income and education into their results. According to their theory, greater patience and steadiness that comes with maturity – therefore present in older moms – could be behind these results. Older mothers may also have more stable relationships, are more educated and have more access to material resources, Psych Central says.
Dr. Dion Sommer from Aarhus BSS says,
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.
In addition, a 2016 study of 28,000 American women discovered that those who had their first child after the age of 25 were 11% more likely to live up to the age of 90 compared to those who bore children younger. A 2014 study also found that women who gave birth after the age of 33 were 50% more likely to live to 95 years old than women who had their last child at the age of 29. The caveat though, is that there may be other factors involved such as health and diet.
The study was published in The European Journal of Developmental Psychology.