Having a child later in life might be the key to living longer, according to a new study at Boston University College of Medicine. Results found that women who choose to have children after the age of 33 are reported to live longer than women who decide to have their last child at age 29. This means that there is a silver lining to being an older mom: they have a greater chance of living longer than younger moms.
This new study looked at data from 462 women, and included families with members who have lived long lives. The women were also part of The Long Life Family Study. Researchers compared how long these women lived and what age they conceived their last child.
Results of the study found that women who got pregnant naturally—without fertility drugs—and birthed their last child after the age of 33, were twice as likely to live to the age of 95. This is compared to other women who decided to have their last child at age 29. Older moms often encounter pressure from society for waiting too long to have children, however, this study proves that waiting, and not being a young mom, means living a longer life.
Today, many women are consciously making the choice to be an older mom. In the United States, the average age of women at a birthing class has steadily risen over the past 40 years, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Numerous women are also choosing to have children after the age of 35.
Dr. Thomas Perls, co-author of the study, suggests that because women have the natural ability to become pregnant at an older age, this indicates that the reproductive system is aging more slowly. This suggests that the rest of a women’s body is aging more slowly as well. Perls explains that the genes responsible for slowing down aging in the body, also decrease the risk of other age-related diseases, like strokes, diabetes, heart attacks, and cancer.
Perls states that the current findings of the study also suggest that prolonged fertility may be linked to an unknown genetic marker for longevity. The results of the study also held up when taking in other harmful factors, such as smoking and obesity. Smoking and Obesity are age accelerators and decrease the chance of having children.
Stigmas have been attached to older moms. Many concerns are that they will be too old to chase after small children with lots of energy. However, these arguments just don’t hold up anymore, according to this study. Perls explains that if older moms are aging slower, they will be in good shape and healthy enough to take care of their small children.
However, the natural ability to have children at an older age will still naturally diminish as women age. Perls explains that the women used in the study had a history of exceptional longevity. However, the results of the study still stand: older moms, who naturally conceive their children at age 33, have a greater chance of living longer than young moms, who conceive their last child at age 29.
By Sara Petersen