Study finds mothers are 20 per cent less likely to die early

Study finds mothers are 20 per cent less likely to die early

If you have ever endured the sleepless nights, endless feeding and constant worrying that comes with having children, you may find this hard to believe.

But having babies can actually mean you live longer.

A UK study found that women who are mothers are 20 per cent less likely to die early at any given point than their childless counterparts.

Breastfeeding is also linked to a longer life, as is taking the pill, according to the research, which studied hundreds of thousands of European women.

It is thought that the associated hormonal changes with having babies boost heart health and reduce the risk of cancers.

The researchers from Imperial College London analysed detailed data on the lives of 322,972 women from ten European countries, including the UK.

During the 13 years of the study, 14,383 of the women died. Almost 6,000 of the deaths were from cancer and 2,400 were caused by heart disease.

But the scientists found that those who had children were a fifth less likely to have died – with those who had their first baby while still in their 20s seemingly particularly blessed with good health.

The analysis, published in the journal BMC Medicine, also showed that women who had two or three children were less likely to die of cancer than others. As well as this, it revealed that mothers who breastfed were 8 per cent less likely to have died than those who bottlefed their babies.

Finally, women who were taking or had taken the oral contraceptive pill were 10 per cent less likely to die than those who didn’t – as long as they didn’t smoke.

If they smoked, the benefits of the pill on longevity were cancelled out. The study didn’t look at the reasons for the links but it is thought that they can be explained by hormonal changes.

Previous research has credited breastfeeding with cutting the risk of breast cancer, with a year of breastfeeding over a woman’s lifetime cutting her odds of the disease by almost 5 per cent.

The 12 months do not have to be continuous – and the more months of breastfeeding a woman clocks up, the lower her chances of developing the disease.

This may be because the levels of oestrogen, a hormone that can fuel breast cancer, drop when a woman is breastfeeding. The process may also change the cells in the breast, making them more resistant to the changes that lead to cancer.

Women make less oestrogen when on the pill, while pregnancy may also lead to protective hormonal changes.

The study only looked at women but previous research has found that becoming a parent is also good for male health.

Research has also shown that a couple’s happiness increases with the birth of each child – up to the third.

But, when child number four comes along, levels of satisfaction start to dip.

Source: Mail Online


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