Having a Baby After Age 35 Is Really Good for Your Brain, Says Science

older mom pregnancyGood news for moms who fall into the "geriatric pregnancy" category is finally here! Sorry, no, it isn't that that unfortunate title is going away. But, take comfort: A new study indicates that having a baby later in life not only bolsters your brainpower, but it may also stave off memory loss down the road. Sounds good to me!


The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Societytracked 830 post-menopausal women and tested their verbal memory, executive functioning skills, and global cognition. Reproductive variables included ages at pregnancies, first period, and menopause; reproductive period; number of pregnancies; and use of hormones for contraception and menopausal symptoms.

The study concluded that women whose last pregnancy was after age 35 had higher verbal memory, while use of hormonal contraceptives was positively associated with global cognition and verbal memory.

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This is welcome news for moms who've put off having kids until they established their careers or found the right partners. For other women, fertility issues delay their journey to motherhood.

Often, if you're having a child later in life, chances are you've already endured plenty of questions about when you'll start a family and what's taken you so long. When you're buying a pregnancy test kit along with your favorite wrinkle cream, you're going to probably get some stares, so now you can fire back with these awesome findings. 

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While having kids at younger ages might seem ideal because you have more energy (and patience, just sayin'), according to the study women who had their first baby between the ages of 15 and 24 were shown to have worse health and cognitive functioning in their 40s. 

My own personal theory might be that these women have been saying things like "Lift the toilet seat up!" and "Don't forget your lunchbox!" and "Set the table, PLEASE!!!!" for a decade longer than these moms who got a later start. Now, I'm no scientist, but motherhood, as beautiful and rewarding as it is, takes a toll. After you've been asking someone to put his or her clothes in the hamper every day for a decade, is it any wonder you walk into a room and have no idea what brought you there in the first place? 

But all that aside, lead author of the study Dr. Roksana Karim isn't suggesting that the increase in hormone levels during pregnancy that positively impacts your brain's functioning is reason to put off starting your family. 

"While it is not enough to suggest that women wait until after 35 years of age to close their family growth, our finding of a positive effect of later age at last pregnancy on late-life cognition is novel and substantial," she said.

It's definitely interesting, and really, can't moms use all the good news they can get? 

Image via Syda Productions/Shutterstock

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