There’s finally one less reason for women who have babies “later in life” to worry. Older moms often get flack, either by doctors or family members who think it’s a selfish choice to have kids later on, since it means they will have less time with their children in the long run. Well, according to a new study, this may not be the case.
The Long Life Family Study discovered that women who had their last child after 33 years old not only lived longer when compared to moms who gave birth at a younger age, but they also had double the chance of being in the last 5 percent of their birth cohorts. Dr. Nicole Schupf, professor at Columbia University Medical Center, stated:
“Several studies have found that late maternal age at last childbirth is positively associated with maternal longevity.
This finding suggests that late maternal age at last child birth is a marker for rate of aging and, if heritable, might be associated with genetic variants playing a role in exceptional survival.”
So, how was this finding determined? The study found a connection between the length of a woman’s telomeres and the age in which she is able to still have a baby. Telomeres, if you don’t know, are the part of the cell that impacts how it ages–the longer telomeres indicate the ability to have children later, as well as increased longevity. The study included 386 women in the United States and Denmark who were all over 70 years old. Schupf went on to explain:
“Compared with women who had their last child by the age of 29, women with a later age at birth of their last child —34 to 37 or over 38 — were found to have increased odds of being in the longest tertile of telomere length versus the shortest tertile of telomere length. The strength of the association with the longest telomere length increased as the maternal age at birth of last child became later in life.”
Of course, as awesome as the findings are, there are other factors involved that are still unknown. Because of this, further studies are needed to see what may help, or hinder, longevity and fertility. Either way, this seems like some good news.