Women who want to be "young moms" in order to be around and watch their kids grow up might actually have it backwards.
New research from Columbia University Medical Center reveals that women who wait to have their last child after the age of 33 are likely to live longer than women who have their last kid at, say, 29, The Daily Mail reports.
"Several studies have found that late maternal age at last childbirth is positively associated with maternal longevity," said Dr. Nicole Schupf, a professor at Columbia. "This finding suggests that late maternal age at last child birth is a marker for rate of aging and, if heritable, might be associated with genetic variants playing a role in exceptional survival."
(A DNA chromosome; telomeres highlighted in green)
Researchers hypothesized that telomeres, the segments at the ends of DNA chromosomes, could be the key to aging, as they often decrease in length as we get older.
The research, which was published in the journal of The North American Menopause Society, was carried out on nearly 400 women in the US and Denmark. The women in the study who gave birth after the age of 33 — at 34, 37, 38, or even older — had longer telomeres than women who didn't.
Meaning, there's probably a correlation here.
"The strength of the association with the longest telomere length increased as the maternal age at birth of last child became later in life," said Dr. Schupf.
"These findings suggest a potential genetic basis for the relationship between reproductive life-span, longevity, and an underlying mechanism related to biological aging."
Of course, more research will need to be done before any scientist can say with certainty that the mom's age at her last birth and her lifespan are directly related — economic factors, number of previous children (if any), and other biological data need to be taken into account.
Until then, we can relax with the knowledge that maybe we can (or should) take more time than we thought when it comes to having kids — and in the meantime, get a refill on that birth control prescription.
h/t The Daily Mail