A new study from Ohio State University and published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior finds that women who became mothers between the ages of 25 and 35 had the best health by age 40 when compared to women who'd had their first babies at a younger age.
But that's not all they showed. In addition, women who had babies in their early 20's were just as likely to have the same health issues at 40 as their teen mom counterparts. In other words, waiting much longer seems smarter than only waiting a little bit.
Lead author Kristi Williams said: "The assumption has been that 'of course, it is better to wait.' But at least when it comes to the later health of the mother, that isn't necessarily true."
The truth is, this study probably shouldn't be especially shocking. Older moms tend to have more education. They tend to have gone to college and even graduate school, they tend to have more established careers that give them more time off and they tend to make more and have partners who can help them do things like work out. They have enough money to buy gym memberships and whole, organic foods. They have health insurance for check ups and health issues. Why wouldn't older mothers fare better at 40?
Obviously, there are young moms who are financially secure and healthy, but playing statistics would obviously point to greater health benefits for mothers who waited. They don't come from waiting. They come from money.
Maybe there is also a health benefit to being older in terms of body readiness, but as a mom who had all three of my pregnancies in that "healthy window" with my first at 28, my second at 30 and my third at 35, I can say the hardest was by far my last. Waiting has its benefits. To an extent. If you want your body to bounce back, both from a cosmetic and a fitness point of view, you are better off doing it on the younger side.
And of course, all of this assumes that women have choices. We don't always. Our bodies do what our bodies do. We meet our partners when we meet them. And in the end, the best we can do is our best. The rest will fall into place. Sleep, eat well, workout, and avoid smoking and drinking. These will keep you healthy no matter when you have your babies.
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