Moms over 40 years take heart - your kids are not only healthier but also smarter than offspring of younger women and less likely to have accidents, a new study said.
Their kids will also develop a broader vocabulary from a young age and achieve higher scores in IQ tests in a range of measures up to the age of five, the study said.
The research is a rare piece of good news for the rising number of women who are delaying motherhood.
Previous studies have highlighted the growing infertility rates for older women and the greater risk of them developing diabetes and pre-eclampsia disorder. But the latest research seems to show gains for older mothers once they have given birth, possibly due to their greater experience and maturity.
The number of mothers who gave birth over the age of 40 increased in Britain from 15,000 in 2000 to 27,000 in 2010, the Daily Mail reported.
Researchers at the Institute of Child Health, University College London and Birkbeck College, London, said their findings showed older mothers could make better parents.
Alastair Sutcliffe, who worked on the study, said negative publicity surrounding the rise of older mothers was based on the physical risks of pregnancy and childbirth.
“We have clear evidence that there are more desirable outcomes for children of older mothers compared with younger ages. We can reassure these older women that their children are probably better off,” he added.
The Wellcome Foundation-funded study looked at 1,100 children born to women aged 40 and over, compared with 38,000 children born to younger women in Britain. The children’s ages ranged from nine months to five years.
Children of older mothers were less likely to be in accidents and were no more at risk of obesity.
Sutcliffe said older mothers might be more risk-averse, possibly because they were less active and unable to run after their children, but they may also be better at spotting and avoiding potentially risky situations.
The research also checked a number of outcomes linked to parenting skills, including naming vocabulary, picture and shapes identification and developmental IQ using established British assessment scales.
These findings were presented at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Conference in Glasgow, Britain.