Contrary to previous assumptions, children of older mothers are not sick more often later in life than others. This is the result of a study by researchers headed by Mikko Myrskylä from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock.
So far, doctors have assumed that the children of mothers who give birth later are sick more often because the egg cells have already deteriorated or the placenta has become weaker. However, this is not the case, as the researchers have now discovered. What really matters is the mother’s level of education and the length of the life she can spend with her child.
The earlier a child loses its mother, the greater the chances for contracting diseases are. Unfortunately, it is still true that as mothers get older, the likelihood of miscarriage and diseases such as Down’s syndrome increases. However, early births seem to be more problematic than late ones.
To their surprise, the researchers found out that especially very young mothers gave birth to children who later became ill more often: the increased risk of illness was 15 for offspring of women who gave birth between the ages of 14 and 19, and five for those with a 20 to 24-year-old mother. In addition, they usually live shorter lives than their peers and tend to be overweight.
For this study, the data of more than 18,000 American women was evaluated. He also has an explanation for the long-standing misconception that children of older mothers are more likely to get sick: At the beginning of the last century, older women in particular still had children, and life expectancy at that time was far below what it is today, so that older mothers died before their children grew.
Today, educated women in particular start families late.