IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The Postponement of Motherhood and its Child Health Consequences: Birth Weight and Weight Gain during the First Year of Life

Listed author(s):
  • Hideko Matsuo
Registered author(s):

    The postponement of motherhood is one of the most important trends in fertility behaviour in the last few decades. The consequences of late motherhood for child health are not well understood, however. One reason is that in the study of child health, the focus is either on birth (e.g., risk factors for low birth weight), or on child health after birth (e.g., child health consequences of low birth weight). The comprehensive view to child health underlying this paper is that both sides are closely linked. Those perinatal, behavioural and socio-demographic factors which affect birth weight also affect child health after birth. This paper addresses both issues together on the basis of two sets of Belgian regional data. The focus is on the relation between maternal age on the one hand, and birth weight and weight gain after birth (the latter conceptualised in an innovative way) as proxies of child health on the other hand. Our results confirm the importance of high maternal age as a risk factor for low birth weight. They also point to a long-term, though not necessarily permanent, effect of high maternal age on child health after birth for low birth weight children. These results differ from those of studies using other proxies for child health after birth such as physical and cognitive development, which point to permanent negative health effects of low birth weight, and even raise the question of negative intergenerational fertility effects.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna in its journal Vienna Yearbook of Population Research.

    Volume (Year): 4 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 91-114

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:vid:yearbk:v:4:y:2006:i:1:p:91-114
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Jason Boardman & Daniel Powers & Yolanda Padilla & Robert Hummer, 2002. "Low birth weight, social factors, and developmental outcomes among children in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 39(2), pages 353-368, May.
    2. Tomas Kögel, 2004. "Did the association between fertility and female employment within OECD countries really change its sign?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 17(1), pages 45-65, February.
    3. Jeffrey Kallan, 1993. "Race, intervening variables, and two components of low birth weight," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 30(3), pages 489-506, August.
    4. Kiernan, Kathleen & Pickett, Kate E., 2006. "Marital status disparities in maternal smoking during pregnancy, breastfeeding and maternal depression," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 335-346, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:vid:yearbk:v:4:y:2006:i:1:p:91-114. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Frank Kolesnik)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.