Having a Baby after 35 Can 'Help Prevent Memory Loss'

Daily Mail (London), November 8, 2016 | Go to article overview

Having a Baby after 35 Can 'Help Prevent Memory Loss'


Byline: Victoria Allen

WOMEN are often warned about leaving it late to have children, as they may face a higher risk of suffering complications - or be unable to get pregnant at all.

But now scientists say there is an upside to delaying motherhood - it can boost your brain power.

Women who had their last child after the age of 35 had sharper memories in middle age than those who completed their family earlier, a study found.

The research even suggests that having a child after 35 could protect against memory loss in later life. It is thought that the hormones that flood the body during pregnancy - oestrogen and progesterone - affect the brain's chemistry and improve cognitive function.

These brain changes are believed by some experts to last a lifetime, and it may be that having experienced them more recently is more beneficial.

The US scientists said their finding is not enough to tell women to delay having children, but that it is nevertheless important. In the study, the first to examine how pregnancy timing affects memory, 830 menopausal women did a series of tests, including reading and remembering word lists and retelling a story they had heard after being distracted. Those who had had their first baby after the age of 24 were better at problem-solving and reasoning than those who gave birth earlier.

And those who had their last baby after 35 had better cognition and verbal memory. …

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