Children born to women aged over 35 years or delivered through Caesarean section face a high risk of being mentally retarded or suffering learning disabilities, a study has found.
The research carried out in Kenya also found a higher proportion of retarded children from single mothers compared to those with two parents.
An examination of 97 mentally retarded children at Kenyatta National Hospital found a higher proportion of them to have been born through Ceasarean section compared to those through normal delivery.
"There was also more proportion of intellectual disability among children of single mothers compared to those children raised by both parents,” says the study published in the April 18 issue of Neurology Research International journal.
It was carried out by a team from the School of Nursing Sciences of the University of Nairobi between March and June last year.
However, the journal says there is no relationship between the women’s age and severity of the condition although there were more boys - 62 per cent - than girls affected.
The study, which was led by Mathieu Nemerimana, was investigating the non-genetic factors that could lead to mental retardation in children.
The team however said the findings were not conclusive and required more research.