Women who wait until 35 or later to have kids face a higher risk of problems, everything from miscarriage to diabetes to chromosomal problems with the newborn. But as Medical Today notes, that hasn't kept the average age of first pregnancies from creeping steadily up. Now, however, Swedish researchers are weighing in with good news for older mothers: Their kids tend to grow up healthier, taller, and better educated, they say in a press release. In fact, their study in Population and Development Review suggests that the benefits outweigh the risks for women who delay childbirth into their later years. The reason is deceptively simple, and it's on the "macro" level: The longer she waits, the more improvements come along in society as a whole.
To illustrate the point, Quartz cites the example of a woman born in 1960 who has a child at age 20 and another at age 40. "A lot of things happened in those intervening 20 years, including dramatic improvements in medicine, mortality, and education: the kid born in 2000 is much more likely to go to college than the sibling born in 1980." The study followed 1.5 million Swedes, and researcher Mikko Myrskylä of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research says the findings should factor into family decisions: "Expectant parents are typically well aware of the risks associated with late pregnancy, but they are less aware of the positive effects.” (Another study suggests that your birth order affects your weight as an adult.)