Postponing childbirth until 25 may lead to better health at 40

While teenage mothers are known to face higher health risks, having a first child before 25 also correlates with worse long-term health outcomes. This surprising finding comes from an extensive observational study over the period 1979 to 2008, evaluating the health of 3300 women at the age of 40 who had their first child between the ages of 15 and 35. According to the study,

Women who have their first child in their mid-20s to mid-30s have better health at age 40 than those who have their first child in their teens or early 20s…. At that age {40}, those who had their first child between ages 25 to 35 reported better health than those who had their first child at ages 15 to 19, or 20 to 24. There were no significant health differences at age 40 between women who had their first child in their teens or early 20s.”

The study also found no evidence that single women who marry after having their first child have better health than those who remain single. However, it does not compare those who were already married when they had their first child with those who were single at that time. While the study found no differences in health outcomes through the age 25-35 range, it is to be noted that there are known, although manageable, increased health risks, both to the mother and to the child, for childbearing after 35 which may be relevant to the decision on when to have a first child for anyone planning to have more than one child.

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