Older Moms Have What It Takes

Older women who ponder becoming pregnant typically question whether they'll have the energy and patience for motherhood.

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Older women who ponder becoming pregnant typically question whether they'll have the energy and patience for motherhood. But a new study suggests they do just fine. Researchers from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles surveyed mothers who had conceived with the use of donor eggs. They asked the women to rate their physical and mental well-being with such queries as "Do you feel worn-out or tired?" and "Do you feel calm?" Moms in their 50s reported better mental functioning and only slightly lower physical functioning than those in their 30s and 40s.

While there are medical complications associated with giving birth at a later age, being older doesn't seem to affect the ability to mother small children. The average age of the children was just over 2 when the mothers completed the questionnaires, notes study author Anne Z. Steiner, M.D., M.P.H., adding that it remains to be seen how older mothers of teenagers will fare. "All women think, 'How am I going to handle being a parent?' " Steiner says. "For women considering becoming moms at 40 or 50, this is reassuring information: It doesn't appear they suffer from issues related to parenting stress."

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