Being the old mom on your child’s playground might have some new perks. Researchers now say that having a baby after your mid-30s helps to give you better brain power as you age and protects you from memory loss.
A study published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society tested 830 women to find the link between giving birth later in life and brain ability. The research showed that hormone surge, which is common in pregnancy, has positive effects on the brain’s chemistry and function.
“There are robust changes in the sex steroid hormonal environment during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. Pregnancy induces a tremendous surge in oestradiol and progesterone levels,” the study states.
Experts believe that these changes in the brain from childbirth last a lifetime, and the later you have that experience, the better for your overall cognitive health.
“While it is not enough to suggest that women wait until after 35 years of age to close their family growth,” said Dr. Roksana Karim, of the University of Southern California and the study’s lead author, “our finding of a positive effect of later age at last pregnancy on late-life cognition is novel and substantial.”
Of the participants, the women who gave birth after the age of 24 were better at problem-solving and reasoning than their younger counterparts. Those who had their babies later in life, specifically after age 35, had boosts in cognition and verbal memory. Studies further showed that having two babies was more beneficial to the brain that having only one child.
Researchers also found that being on a birth control pill for a span of 10 years improves both memory and cognition. This is due to oestrogen and progesterone, the two hormones found in the pills.
This is the first study that examines how pregnancy timing affects memory in women.
Ronke Idowu Reeves is a writer and journalist who hails from Brooklyn, NY. Her news and entertainment stories have appeared on WABC-TV-New York, Fox News Channel, VH1, BET.com plus in Sundance Film Festival’s Sundance Daily Insider and People Magazine.