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Parenting & Motherhood

Experts: Having children can ruin a happy marriage
Couples are at their happiest in the years soon after they wed and they expect the arrival of children. But when romantic dinners and weekend breaks are substituted by sleepless nights and a shortage of cash the reality can be less attracting. "People are extremely happy before they have children and then their happiness goes down. It takes another big hit when kids reach adolescence. When does it come back to its original baseline? About the time the children grow up and go away," said professor Daniel Gilbert.



Study: Curvy women are more attractive and have cleverer children
It was known that men find curvy women more attractive and that they live longer. Now research suggests that women with an hourglass figure also are brighter and have cleverer children. The study suggests that such women give birth to more intelligent children, possibly a result of higher levels of omega3 fatty acids on the hips. In the research scientists used data from a study of 16,000 women and girls, which collected details of their body measurements and their scores in cognitive tests. They found that those women with a greater difference between the waist and hips scored higher on the tests, as did their children.

Relationship Problems May Affect Baby's IQ
A study claims that children born to mothers who experience relationship problems during their pregnancies have lower than average intelligence and are more prone to anxiety. Fights and violence with a partner were particuarly harmful. A stress hormone Cortisol may be the cause as it crosses the placenta to the unborn child.

Baby makes 3: How kids rattle friendships
Aliza Sherman Risdahl was driving when her cell phone rang. On the other end was her best friend calling with big news: She was pregnant. Risdahl congratulated her, hung up - and burst into tears. "I struggled with multiple miscarriages over a 2-year period. During that time, my girlfriend Jo (McGuire) got married and was pregnant within a few months." McGuire knew news of her pregnancy would trigger mixed feelings in her friend. "There is no doubt that I hesitated to call Aliza to tell her I was pregnant. I knew she would be happy and angry." The issue of having children can pit women`s friendships with landmines.

Marriage can be more damaging than divorce to children
Staying together for the sake of the children can be more damaging than divorce. Children whose parents split up were twice as likely to do badly at school than pupils whose parents stayed together. But many pupils whose parents' relationship was in difficulty were at risk of under-achieving whether or not their parents separated. Children from happy homes did best whether their parents lived together or apart, researchers told. Children who kept close relationships with their non-resident parent, after a split did better than expected. The closeness of the relationship was more important than the frequency of contact with the parent.

Teenagers prefer motherhood to low-paid job
Many teenage girls see having a baby as a better option than a low-paid "dead-end" job, research has found. The study suggested girls as young as 13 choose motherhood to be independent and to create "a loving family". Findings show teenagers are not ignorant about contraception, as is often assumed, and actively plan to have a baby. Areas of deprivation and poverty have the highest rates of teenage pregnancy. The study found that many of those who became pregnant as teenagers had wanted to compensate for their own bad experiences as childhood.

Combining work and motherhood is good for women`s health
Holding down a job and being a mum in a steady relationship helps keep women healthy and in good shape over the long term, suggests research. A career as a homemaker seems to increase the chances of becoming obese. Analysis of the information showed that by the age of 54 women who had been partners, parents, and employees were significantly less likely to report ill health than women who did not fulfil all three roles. The authors conclude that good health among women is more likely to be the result, rather than the cause, of adopting several roles.

Births out of wedlock 'pass 40%'
The proportion of children born outside marriage in the UK has leapt from 12% in 1980 to 42% in 2004. In contrast, 15 other EU countries had an estimated average of 33%. The average UK household size fell from 2.9 to 2.4 people from 1971 to 2005. This was due to more single-parent families, smaller families and an increase in households of just one person. Although most children are born to married couples, this substantial rise in births outside marriage is a reflection of the rising trend in cohabiting parents. From 1986 to 2004, the percentage of non-married people under 60 who cohabited rose from 11% to 24% among men, and from 13% to 25% for women.

Parenting: Here Comes Trouble
In a study that strips the sentimentality off new parenthood, a researcher reports that 50 to 80% of new mothers and 30% of new fathers suffer depression, setting them up to be unresponsive to their new baby and to each other. Such high rates of postpartum depression result directly from the dramatic drop in intimacy couples experience after the birth of a baby. Studies of newlyweds show that for 67%, childbirth brings conflict, hostility and alienation, which starts many couples down the road to divorce.

Mother no longer knows best, high court told
The long-held belief among parents that they know what is best for a child is out of date and represents a traditional paternalistic approach that contradicts social changes in western Europe, it was claimed at the high court yesterday. Ms Lieven argued that parents are no longer necessarily the best people to advise a child on contraception, sexually transmitted infections and abortions - and they have no right to know if their children under 16 are seeking treatment.

Unwed Mothers Have Difficulty Finding 'Good' Husbands, Study Finds
Women who have children outside of marriage are less likely than other single women to marry, and when they do marry, their husbands tend to be less well-matched, according to a new study.