New Study Says Babies Born to Women in Their 30s Are More 'Intelligent'

smart babyThe best age for women to have babies is a topic sure to inspire heated debate for as long as women keep having babies -- and now the results of yet another study are bound to add fuel to the fire: According to research published in the journal of Biodemography and Social Biology, babies born to moms in their thirties are more likely to be intelligent (!).


Data was taken from the Millennium Cohort Study (which analyzes the growth of 18,000 British children for "an extended period of time") by researchers from the London School of Economics who found that children who were born to women in their thirties outperformed their peers and scored higher in cognitive testing. Researcher Alice Goisis theorizes that this may be because "first-time mothers in their 30s are, for example, likely to be more educated, have higher incomes, are more likely to be in stable relationships, have healthier lifestyles, seek prenatal care earlier, and have planned their pregnancies," as she told The Times.

Sure, all of that is true, but this study brings up an important question: How exactly do we define "intelligence" -- and aren't we more or less born with it? Of course kids who have parents with more resources to offer (i.e., good schools, tutors, even high-quality nutrition) are going to do better when it comes to school and tests. But are book learning and intelligence really the same thing? Some of the greatest minds in history came from broken homes and poverty; many of them were born when "prenatal care" was mostly the stuff of old wives' tales and superstition. The problem with studies like this one is that they take a snapshot of a child's progress in one sphere of life at a specific time and don't take into account future accomplishments or, in this case, the many different ways intelligence manifests itself. 

More from The Stir: 10 Reasons Having Babies in Your 20s Rocks 

So while telling women to wait until they're absolutely ready to have children -- which very well might be when they're in their thirties -- might be good advice, I personally would take the rest of these results with a hefty grain of salt. (And I'm not saying that simply because the two children I had in my 20s are honor students! Really, I'm not.)


Image via Paul Inkles/Flickr

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