Yesterday I read a very short piece in the Belgian newspaper De Standaard which was about an interesting study. According to the article, the children who are born to older mothers (aged 40 or more) have better health. The newspaper article is at http://www.standaard.be/artikel/detail.aspx?artikelid=8338NJIR and its automatic translation can be read at http://goo.gl/erEq2.

There was no link in the newspaper article but I believe it is about the scientific article titled “Health of children born to mothers aged 40 years or over, analyses of two national cohort studies” (recently published in Archives of Disease in Childhood). According to the research article:

Results: We studied 510 children born to mothers aged 40 years or over at age 9 months, and 463 such children at 3 years. These were compared to the 25000 other children. In general, increased maternal age was associated with improved health outcomes. The only exception to this was the decline in complete immunisation rates among children of older mothers. Two further possible exceptions were not statistically significant: (a) the slight increase in hospital admission rates among the children of mothers over 35 (3 year old data) and (b) a slight increase in child’s BMI with maternal age.

Conclusion: In this internationally unique and well powered study, in contrast to antenatal risks, older maternity confers health benefits to children, even those from socially deprived backgrounds (NESS dataset).”

I’m not an expert in this field but this study seems to be provide a strong counterexample to idea that being a mother at a relatively old age is very risky. What do you think about it?