Women who delayed motherhood, and are thinking twice about their decision can rejoice now as giving birth at 30s can allow them to live twice as long and reach a healthy age.
Over the years fertility experts have recommended women to have their children at a younger age so as to avoid complications during childbirth. Even mothers were said to be at risk if they conceived later at life. However, a new study by scientists at Portugal’s Coimbra University suggests that older mothers who gave birth after the age of 33 lived longer compared to women who conceived their child at the age of 29 according to Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society.
The new research talks about studying the genetics of a woman to predict her longevity. The link of a longer lifespan is connected with the length of telomeres, which affects how our cells age. Telomeres are caps at the end of DNA strands that protect chromosomes and prevent the loss of these strands during the replication process. As we age, the length of telomeres decreases. However, longer lengths are typically associated with the ability to bear children at an older age and is also associated with good health.
“Of course this does not mean women should wait to have children at older ages in order to improve their own chances of living longer,” said the study’s co-author Thomas Perls, a professor of medicine at BU. “The age at last childbirth can be a rate of aging indicator. The natural ability to have a child at an older age likely indicates that a woman’s reproductive system is aging slowly, and therefore so is the rest of her body.”
The gene variations also enable women to have children naturally at a later stage in life. If a woman has those variants, she is able to reproduce and bear children for a longer period of time, increasing her chances of passing down those genes to the next generation,” Perls said. Another professor from Columbia University Medical Centre noted 'Several studies have found that late maternal age at last childbirth is positively associated with maternal longevity.'
Long Life Family Study (LLFS) also reported that women who had their child after the age of 33 had higher odds of being on the top fifth percentile in terms of lifespan compared to women who had their last child at the age of 29. Professor Schupf said, "This finding suggests that late maternal age at last childbirth is a marker for the rate of aging and, if heritable, might be associated with genetic variants playing a role in exceptional survival."
LFS conducted a research on 387 women from Denmark and US over the age of 70. They found certain factors which contributed to aging and longevity in women. This was later connected with conceiving the last child at 29. Schupf concluded the research saying "These findings suggest a potential genetic basis for the relationship between reproductive life-span, longevity, and an underlying mechanism related to biological aging." The authors of the research want to conduct further analysis by looking into other factors such as income and occupational status and personal relationships.