- A recent study found that the number of births a woman has influences the aging rate, but perhaps not the way we think.
- Pregnancy is hard on the body and can cause women to carry more body weight throughout their lives.
- Factors such as weight gain and conditions such as gestational diabetes can accelerate aging.
Some say that motherhood keeps you forever young, while others feel that you age faster than anything else. A recent small-scale study shows that both may be right, depending on the number of children they have had.
A recent study published in the journal Scientific reports It shows a strange connection between the number of children a woman had and how quickly she ages after menopause. While the mothers nodded, the study actually reported a striking U-shaped correlation between the two factors.
The results of the study
According to the study, mothers of five or more children showed more advanced age markers than those aged two to four. But here things get weird: single mothers (and childless women). also They age faster than mothers with two to four children.
Several different aging measures were considered in the study and are as follows:
- Homeostatic dysregulation . A measure of how much a person’s physiology deviates from a young and healthy baseline.
- Klemera-Doubal method . A method in which a person’s biological age is based on chronological age and weight adjusted for selected biomarkers.
- Levine method . A method in which a person’s biological age can be interpreted as the chronological age at which the risk of mortality based on physiology would be approximately normal in the reference population.
* descriptions provided by Dr. Kim Langdon, an OB / GYN from Ohio and collaborator at Medzino .
Pregnancy is hard on the body
Regardless of the measure used, the study found that women without children or with one child, along with women with five or more children, had an increased risk of death due to accelerated aging, especially after menopause. «The risk of mortality from specific causes, including coronary heart disease, circulatory disease and cancer, has been increased in multiparous women,» says Langdon.
The risk of mortality from specific causes, such as coronary heart disease, circulatory disease and cancer, has increased in multiparous women.
– KIM LANGDON, OBSTETRATOR / GYNECOLOGIST
It is hard to deny: pregnancy is extremely hard for the body, no matter how many times a woman goes through it. «It’s a huge biological stress on the cardiovascular system, metabolism, lungs, kidneys and weight,» says Langdon. And women who develop pregnancy-related conditions are more likely to continue to deal with these conditions. For example, women who develop gestational diabetes are more likely to develop type II diabetes obviously due to genetics and obesity. «
A U-shaped correlation
How can it be explained that the acceleration of biological age reaches a minimum between two and four live births and begins to increase at the upper and lower extremities? There may be some explanations, none of which have to do with the stress that comes with parents.
Langdon says there could be different factors at each end of the spectrum. «Women who have a single birth may have fertility problems, such as polycystic ovary syndrome or a serious medical condition, such as lupus, which are independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease and death.»
In addition, he speculates that mothers with many children (more than five, according to the study) may have more total body fat than women who have given birth to fewer children. «Women who have more children are more likely not to lose weight due to pregnancy, and obesity is a risk factor for mortality. Many of these women may have less access to health care and birth control … which can increase their risk of death. «
What does this mean for you?
It is important to remember that this was a small study and, as such, is far from a death sentence for mothers with only one or at least five children. Making healthy choices both during and after pregnancy is the key to a long life, no matter how many children you have. And, in addition, these habits are likely to be passed on to your children, preparing them for a healthy life.you.