Family & Parenting

Why Having Children Later In Life Can Make You Smarter

Great news for older moms!

Here’s some welcome news from the medical community for women who are opting to have children later in life: A study from the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society says that having a child later in life can actually be good for your brain! This is encouraging information for older moms, who are still recovering from the latest adjustment to the way the medical community refers to them—replacing the term “advanced maternal age” with “geriatric pregnancy.”

As PopSugar reports, the study found that women who had children after the age of 35 had improved verbal memory when compared to women who had children earlier in life. The study also showed that women who had their first pregnancy between 15 and 24 years of age had lower cognitive functioning as well as poorer physical health.

Flickr | Peter & Joyce Grace

So what accounts for this?

Well, researchers believe that the giant burst of hormones your body releases during pregnancy can have major benefits for your brain. Yep, and you thought all those hormones were good for was acne and hemorrhoids. It turns out that pregnancy hormones can actually help to improve cognitive function and preserve memory.

Flickr | Mysudbury.ca Ouisudbury.ca

Older moms and women considering childbearing at a later age should be delighted by this research for a number of reasons. It offers mothers vindication from the misconception that they sacrifice their intellectual abilities in the name of child-rearing, as the research helps highlight the myriad ways that parenting can actually enhance mental ability.

It also demonstrates that there are benefits to delaying childbirth that balance the risks. Indeed, other recent research has shown that children born to older mothers enjoy some added perks: They end up taller, fitter and with a higher level of education.

Flickr | Victor

Of course, at the end of the day, what’s most important is what works best for each woman and her family, and what matters most is that a child is loved and cared for. In fact, research shows that a mother’s love can actually help increase the size of her baby’s brain. How awesome is that?!