Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Maternal Age

  • Mikko MyrskyläEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_777-1



Age of mother at birth of her child.


Timing of parenthood varies strongly within individuals, across societies, and over time. Whether a woman gives birth to a child at ages below 20 or above 40 may have important implications for her well-being, as well as for that of her child. The process of postponement of parenthood has fuelled concerns about the implications of fertility postponement on the health of the children. There may, however, also be important benefits and advantages among those that are born to older parents. This article briefly reviews the characteristics of older mothers and current literature on both the potential positive and negative effects of older-age motherhood.

Characteristics of Older Mothers

A dominant demographic trend in the latter half of the twentieth century that has continued into the early twenty-first century has been fertility postponement and increasing age at first birth. For...

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This work has been supported by the European Research Council Grant 336475 (COSTPOST).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for Demographic ResearchRostockGermany
  2. 2.London School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK
  3. 3.University of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

Section editors and affiliations

  • Steven Arnocky
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts and SciencesNipissing UniversityNorth BayCanada