Barely a day goes by without a headline warning against the dangers of leaving it late to have children. But now a new survey has revealed some good news for older mums because women who are a little late to the parenting party are more likely to live longer.
The study, by researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and published in the American Journal of Public Health, found that mums who had their first child over the age of 25, which lets face it is positively young these days, were 11% more likely to survive into their 90s than women who first gave birth at an earlier age.
Even mothers over the age of 30 could reap the benefits of longer life, with women who give birth to their first child being 10% more likely to live into their 90s than first-time mums under the age of 25.
And it seems the number of children we have also has an impact on how long we might live. Among those women who had experienced pregnancy, those who’d been pregnant two or three times were 25% more likely to survive beyond their 90th birthday than women who’d only been pregnant once.
But why does the age we have our first child and number of pregnancies we’ve experienced affect how long we might live?
The scientists have a few theories, one being that women who survive an older pregnancy, with it’s potential increased risks and complications, could be healthier overall.
Another suggestions is that women who give birth later in life, could be more likely to have a more comfortable backgrounds, so could be more likely to live longer anyway.
“Our findings do not suggest that women should delay having a child, as the risk of obstetric complications, including gestational diabetes and hypertension, is higher with older maternal ages,” explained lead researcher Dr Aladdin Shadyab in a press release.
“It is possible that surviving a pregnancy at an older age may be an indicator of good overall health, and as a result, a higher likelihood of longevity,” he continued.
“It is also possible that women who were older when they had their first child were of a higher social and economic status, and therefore, were more likely to live longer,” he continued.
Though further research is needed to determine which social factors could help to explain the association between the age we have our first child and how long we might live, he hoped the study might help women with their family planning choices.
“Our findings have several public health implications,” he said. “We hope this is a foundation to help identify targets for future interventions among women in the preconception and family planning phases of their lives, which may improve women’s healthy longevity in the long term.”
Would the research influence when you had your first child? Let us know @YahooStyleUK