Something everyone knew, that wasn’t necessarily needing to be confirmed by a study, but kids age us. However, while previous data showed that pregnancy can protect against aging ailment, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. A newly released study is leaning more towards that having children in fact helps speed up again, although the research doesn’t outright declare that birthing kids is not good for your wellness.
The study in the journal Human Reproduction concluded that women who bore children experienced advanced cellular aging equivalent to 11 years. Anna Pollack, the researcher at George Mason University in Virginia and her team examined telomeres, which are parts of DNA that are on the tips of our chromosomes. They examined the results from two thousand woman, as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, with the information range from 1999 to 2002.
“We found that women who had five or more children had even shorter telomeres compared to those who had none, and relatively shorter relative to those who had one, two, three, or four, even,” Pollack said in an interview with Newsweek.
Telomeres, discovered in the 1970s, are strings of DNA molecules at the ends of all our chromosomes that act a little like the plastic bits on the ends of shoelaces. Because of the way DNA is replicated as our cells replicate and divide and age, these caps get worn down over time. However, wearing down these caps is better than the alternative—which would be wearing down the important genetic material of the chromosome itself. If the telomeres are completely gone, the cell wouldn’t be able to replicate at all stated Pollack.
“We found that women who had five or more children had even shorter telomeres compared to those who had none, and relatively shorter relative to those who had one, two, three or four, even,” Pollack said.
Anecdotally, we knew that having kids was aging us much faster. Than our friends who get to sleep past 6am, don’t have to break up fight club on the hour, and change pee covered bed sheets once a week, but now we have proof!
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Some people might think the study indicates having children makes mothers less healthy, but the authors say those findings should be interpreted with caution.