If falling pregnant is on your 2019 to-do list then we have some great news.
Having a baby after 35 has been proven to boost your memory in middle age. And that probability increases significantly if you have more than one child.
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That’s according to the results of a study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Studies which found a link between female fertility hormones and brainpower.
The researchers wrote:
“It has been suggested that functional brain changes induced by reproductive experiences have lifelong effects, particularly in terms of improvement in memory and learning … Therefore it is biologically plausible that a late pregnancy might offer protection against cognitive decline in later life.”
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Is that excellent news or what? Take that sleep deprivation!
The study asked 830 post-menopausal women to take part in a series of tasks to test their cognitive ability, such as remembering a list of words and retelling a story after being distracted.
Additionally, participants were asked to answer a reproductive history questionnaire which “included ages at pregnancies, menarche, and menopause; reproductive period; number of pregnancies; and use of hormones for contraception and menopausal symptoms,” the researchers explained in their study.
The results revealed that women who had their last baby after 35 had better cognition and verbal memory later in life.
Women who had babies earlier in life – between the ages of 15 and 24 – were found to have a lower cognitive function once they reached middle age.
The researchers were unable to give an explanation for “why” this occurred, but they believe the roots lie in the power of female sex hormones.
According to the study, the huge hormonal boost a woman gets during pregnancy increases brain power, and if a woman gets pregnant later in life then the effects last longer into her middle age.
Interestingly, similar brain-boosting effects were found in women who had taken the contraceptive pill for over a decade.
They don’t call us wonder women for nothing!