There appears to be a link between life expectancy and the birth of the last child in women, according to the results of a new study involving researchers from the North American Menopause Society (NAMS). The study was published in the English language journal “Menopause”.
The life expectancy of a woman seems to be related to the time of birth of her last child. So-called telomeres of leukocytes are often longer in women who had their last child late, which is an indicator of better long-term health and longevity.
The telomere length of leukocytes can provide some important insights into the longevity of women, and the researchers found in their study that maternal age at the birth of the last child significantly influences telomere length and long-term health.
This is not the first time that a woman’s leukocyte telomere length has been associated with her expected life expectancy. Telomeres are repeating DNA-protein complexes that protect the ends of chromosomes and have been shown to be critical to maintaining genomic stability, the research group explains.
Influence of childbirth on the longevity of women?
Previous studies have already found a link between telomere length and various chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some neurological diseases and various types of cancer. This indicates the far-reaching effects of telomere length on health.
The current study analyzed data from more than 1,200 perimenopausal and postmenopausal women from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In addition, unlike previous studies, this study took into account socio-demographic factors related to birth behavior and health decisions.
The research confirmed that the age of the mother at the last birth is positively associated with telomere length, which means that women who gave birth to their last child later in life are likely to have longer telomeres. These are considered a biomarker for long-term health and longevity. The findings were limited to women who had one or two live births or who used oral contraceptives.
Pregnancies affect the life expectancy of women
Further research is needed in the future to determine whether a higher maternal age at the last birth leads to an increase in telomere length, or whether telomere length simply indicates the general state of health and corresponds to a woman’s ability to have a child at an advanced age, the researchers explain. (as)
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