Women who had to deal with three or more stressful events gave birth to the least co-ordinated children, said researchers.

London - The perfect age to start a family is 26 – two years earlier than the average age of a first-time parent, a study suggests.

Those questioned felt that 26 is young enough to have the energy for parenting but old enough to have a stable career. The mid-twenties also gives parents plenty of time to have more children later on.

Many will also have satisfied their urge to travel by then and be ready to settle down, the report for vitamin and minerals range Seven Seas Pregnancy said.

However, the typical British mother does not get around to having her first child until the age of 27.9, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Claire Halsey, clinical psychologist and contributor to the report, said: “The results of this survey are quite surprising, as we would have expected parents to think the perfect age to start a family to be late twenties to early thirties.

“Perhaps there is a realisation that as the recession affects work prospects, planning for a family can come first and career later.”

The study of 5,000 adults aged 18 to 65 – including parents and childless couples – found one-third of parents claim having children at a younger age meant they could have a bigger family, while a fifth felt they will have more in common with their children.

One in four weren’t sure how long it would take to conceive, and so wanted to start early. Owning a house and getting married were the key milestones most parents wanted to reach before having children. - Daily Mail