Oldest, Youngest Maternal Ages Show Highest Developmental Risks

Oldest, Youngest Maternal Ages Show Highest Developmental Risks


The youngest and oldest maternal ages show the highest risks of developmental vulnerability in children by the time they reach five years, new study showed.

Researchers at the University of New South Wales found that 21 percent of 100,000 children analyzed had at least one developmental vulnerability by the time they turned five, Health Day reported.

The highest rate was among children born to mothers who were 15 years or younger, a stunning 40 percent.

The lowest rate of 17 percent was among children born to mothers aged between 30 to 35 years, but then the number steadily climbed 24 percent among children born to mothers aged 35 to 45.

The data reflects an emerging trend of women around the world in higher-income countries choosing to delay having children, with only four percent of children featured in the study born to mothers younger than 20 years.

Meanwhile, one in five of the children were born to mothers older than 35 years, noted a media release published by Science Daily.

“The good news from our study is that the vast majority of kids born to mums aged 35 and older fare well,” said Dr. Kathleen Falster of the UNSW Centre for Big Data Research in Health and a co-author of the study.

“The elevated risk of developmental vulnerability we identified is relatively small.”

Furthermore, researchers were reluctant to pin their findings solely on biological factors and have suggested that socioeconomic disadvantages could significantly contribute towards the increased risk of developmental vulnerability associated with younger motherhood.

Falster noted that policies and programs supporting disadvantaged mothers of all ages, including young mothers, “may reduce developmental vulnerabilities, supporting more kids to reach their potential.”

And, while researchers were confident that their findings were highly relevant, they believed further studies were needed to gain a greater understanding to the increased risk of developmental vulnerability in children born to younger and older mothers.

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