Conventional wisdom used to suggest that having children at an older age was a no-no. Better for your overall health and that of your child if you gave birth while you were “younger.”
And while the risks of childbirth at an older age remain the same, some new research out of UC San Diego Health suggests there might be at least one rather long-term benefit to having children later rather than sooner. The study found that women who had their first child later on in life had an increased chance of living to 90. Well, well, well…
“We found that women who had their first child at age 25 or older were more likely to live to age 90,” said Aladdin Shadyab, PhD and lead author of the study. “The findings indicate that women with two to four term pregnancies compared with a single term pregnancy were also more likely to live at least nine decades.”
Now, as is often the case with reports of this nature, it’s important to recognize that this research does not prove that having the first child later in life will lead to a longer life, but rather it suggests that there seems to be a correlation between the two. Shadyab also points out that it might be that women who are successfully able to give birth later in life are simply more healthy and therefore live longer. As always, more research is required.
Still, that correlation is pretty exciting for the growing number of Canadian women who are waiting longer to dive into motherhood, too. According to research by Statistics Canada 52 per cent of all babies born in Canada in 2011 were to women age 30 and older. That was five years ago, and we’ve got to imagine that number continues to rise as women take their time to finish post secondary education, establish careers and prepare financially. Plus, it’s never been easier to plan for pregnancy thanks to an arsenal of birth control methods.
The rising average age of motherhood seems to be consistent throughout the western world, with numbers up south of the border in the United States, too.
In any case, we’re chalking this discovery up as a win for moms over 30. Hopefully, with more research and understanding, we can push that number up beyond 90 years. Babies at 60, live to 120! Or maybe not quite.