Being An Older Mom Comes With Some Major Advantages

Women in developed countries are waiting longer than ever to get pregnant ― and that may actually be a good thing for their children, according to new research.

Women are usually told that getting pregnant later in life is worse for both the mother and the baby. The conversation tends to focus on declining fertility and potential health complications, often casting older motherhood in a negative light. Women are often warned not to have children too late, to avoid a higher risk of birth defects or autism (which at this point is only tenuously connected with advanced maternal age). 

But when it comes to a mother’s well-being and her child’s social-emotional development, there are significant advantages of getting pregnant later in life.

A new study on nearly 5,000 mothers in Denmark, published in a recent issue of the European Journal of Developmental Psychology, finds that older mothers are less likely to yell at their children and impose harsh punishments, and that the children are less likely to have behavioral, social and emotional issues. 

“When estimating the consequences of the rising maternal age, it’s important to consider both the physical and psycho-social pros and cons,” study author Dion Sommer, a psychologist at Aarhus University in Denmark, said in a statement released Wednesday. 

In Denmark, the average pregnancy age is 30.9 (compared with age 26.3 in the U.S.), and the number of women over 40 having children has quadrupled since 1985. 

For the study, the researchers checked up on the mothers’ children at ages 7, 11 and 15. They found that children of older mothers have fewer social, emotional and behavioral issues at ages 7 and 11, but not by age 15. They also observed that the older mothers were less likely to scold and harshly discipline their kids. 

This makes sense, considering that older mothers are generally more educated and financially stable, and often have greater relationship stability. But even controlling for these factors, the researchers found that advanced maternal age was still a significant factor in and of itself. Why? Age may come with greater psychological maturity, the study’s authors say.

“We know that people become more mentally flexible with age, are more tolerant of other people and thrive better emotionally themselves,” Sommer said. “That’s why psychological maturity may explain why older mothers do not scold and physically discipline their children as much.” 

Creating a positive and less disciplinary environment, in turn, leads to a healthier and happier upbringing. 

It’s not the first study to point to real advantages of having children later in life. A 2012 study published in the British Medical Journal found that older mothers had healthier children, and other research has shown that older mothers tend to enjoy improved well-being during pregnancy and immediately after giving birth. Another recent study determined that children of older mothers show increased intelligence and cognitive ability.

Of course, there are also plenty of studies finding positive outcomes associated with younger motherhood. The bottom line is that we can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to the best age for motherhood, and the younger-is-better equation doesn’t always hold up. 

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Room Full Of Men Decides Fate Of Women’s Health Care

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with a group of conservative male lawmakers to determine the fate of maternity coverage in health care plans Thursday.

Members of the House Freedom Caucus, which is composed of all men, went to the White House to talk with the president about what changes they’d like to see to the GOP health care bill. One of the major adjustments would be no longer requiring insurance companies to offer maternity care in all health plans.

Pence proudly tweeted a photo of the meeting, which didn’t feature a single woman (although White House counselor Kellyanne Conway was reportedly there): 

Appreciated joining @POTUS for meeting with the Freedom Caucus again today. This is it. #PassTheBill

— Vice President Pence (@VP) March 23, 2017

Another photo, tweeted by Trump’s social media director, showed two women standing in the background: 

.@POTUS @realDonaldTrump and @VP Pence meet with Freedom Caucus members in the @WhiteHouse Cabinet Room.

— Dan Scavino Jr. (@Scavino45) March 23, 2017

The Affordable Care Act created a list of 10 essential health benefits that all health insurance plans must cover. Pregnancy, newborn and maternity care are on that list. 

Before the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010, the insurance market was a bleak place for women. They often had to pay more than men for the same coverage. Only 12 percent of individual market plans covered maternity care. And it was completely legal for insurance companies to refuse coverage to women who were pregnant or might become pregnant in the future.

But many Republicans argue that this pre-2010 system was better, because men shouldn’t have to pay for things like maternity care. Republicans argue that premiums will go down if people can shop around more for a la carte services. 

Experts worry that if insurance companies are given the option of offering expensive services like maternity care, it will become a race to the bottom where that coverage, once again, becomes scarce.

But there were few, if any, women at the White House this morning to voice these concerns to the men around the table. 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters Thursday that the GOP health care bill could end up “making being a woman a pre-existing condition.”

“Stripping guaranteed maternity care is a pregnancy tax, pure and simple,” she said.

In one of his first acts as president in late January, Trump signed an executive order regarding funding for abortion and women’s reproductive rights worldwide surrounded entirely by men.

This piece has been updated with Scavino’s tweet. 

Want more updates from Amanda Terkel? Sign up for her newsletter, Piping Hot Truth, here.

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Arkansas Approves Law To Let People Carry Guns In Bars And At Public Colleges

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Wednesday signed into law a measure to expand where people can carry concealed guns in the state.

Beginning Sept. 1, people who undergo eight hours of training will legally be allowed to carry concealed handguns at government buildings including the state Capitol, state colleges and some bars, according to The Associated Press.

“This bill, in my view, reflects the will of the General Assembly and is constitutional and will balance public safety and the Second Amendment,” Hutchinson said when he signed the bill.

The National Rifle Association noted in a statement that the bill initially only pertained to college campuses but had expanded to allow concealed carry in other areas as well.

With the enhanced permits, licensees can exercise their right to self-defense if attacked by violent criminals while on campus, out to dinner or visiting state buildings,” the group said in a statement.

Lawmakers are already working on additional legislation to exclude certain areas from allowing concealed carry. Included in the proposed legislation are the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas State Hospital and Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, where the university’s football team plays (and where beach balls, inflatable toys and umbrellas are currently banned).

Under current state law, public colleges can block students from carrying concealed handguns on campus. None have chosen to allow concealed carry, the AP reported. The new measure gives bars, restaurants and private colleges that same discretion.

This legislation will make everyday life in Arkansas more dangerous.
Austin Bailey, Arkansas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Austin Bailey, leader of the Arkansas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a gun safety group, said the bill shows how much sway the NRA has in the state.

“Being one of thousands of Arkansans fighting to stop this dangerous legislation has been an eye-opening experience. I’ve learned that our state legislators ― and even our governor ― listen to the gun lobby over their constituents and the people who will be directly affected by this legislation,” Bailey said in a statement. “That’s something we won’t soon forget. This legislation will make everyday life in Arkansas more dangerous. State legislators should know that passing this gun lobby priority will only motivate supporters of gun sense to get louder in Arkansas ― our kids are at risk and we will not be silent while legislators gamble with their safety.”

As in several other states, the Arkansas measure requires people to go through some training before obtaining a concealed carry permit. However, many states have moved recently to get rid of this training requirement

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Italy: ‘North African’ Arrested After Driving at Police, Stabbing Officer

A “North African” migrant has attempted to ram police with a car in a southern Italian town, before attacking and injuring an officer with a knife.

Obamacare Repeal Vote Postponed, Source Says

WASHINGTON ― With conservatives unable to find a deal and leadership unable to find the votes, House Republicans are reportedly pulling their health care bill from the floor and delaying a vote that had been scheduled for Thursday.

“No vote tonight,” said a GOP leadership aide.

Conservatives have teetered between strongly opposing the GOP health care bill and looming support. The House Freedom Caucus has negotiated with the White House on potentially eliminating Essential Health Benefits and some unknown provisions in Title I of the Affordable Care Act. That expansive section of the 2010 health care law Republicans are trying to repeal includes provisions requiring coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and allowing young adults to remain under a parent’s plan until they’re 26 years old. 

The last-minute renegotiation of the bill spooked moderates, whose trickle of opposition became a steady stream throughout Thursday. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) ― the head of the Tuesday Group, which is made up of roughly 50 moderate House Republicans ― announced his own opposition.

While not the floor defeat that the Freedom Caucus and reluctant moderates had been promising, it’s still a huge loss for congressional leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), as well as for President Donald Trump

Trump has come to own the American Health Care Act, even making a direct pitch during a closed-door meeting with House Republicans on Tuesday. The continued opposition to the bill may be the first signal that Trump’s political capital doesn’t run very deep in the House GOP conference, and that Republicans, particularly conservative ones, aren’t afraid to cross the president.

The president’s vaunted dealmaking skills have failed him so far, however. He didn’t pick up any new support by offering to eliminate Essential Health Benefits from the bill, but instead lost a wave of moderates and made the measure more politically toxic than it had been.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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HOKEY SMOKES!! They have cancelled the yuge vote today on the Obamacare replacement bill!!!! BREAKING: There will be no House vote on the Republican health care bill today, a top GOP leadership . . .

Vote on GOP Health Care Plan Delayed, as Some Freedom Caucus Members Remain Opposed

The House was initially expected to vote on the American Health Care Act tonight. But according to the Associated Press, Republican leaders delayed the vote…. Read More

The post Vote on GOP Health Care Plan Delayed, as Some Freedom Caucus Members Remain Opposed appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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