A new study claims that women who have their first child at 25 years of age or later may increase their chances of living into their 90s.
The study by researchers at University of California San Diego in the US is the first to look at age at first child-birth in relation to longevity. The researchers found an association between a woman’s age at child-birth and parity (the number of times a woman has been pregnant) with survival to age 90.
“We found that women who had their first child at age 25 or older were more likely to live to age 90,” said lead author Aladdin Shadya from UC San Diego School of Medicine.
“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,” he said. Out of about 20,000 participants in the study, 54% of women survived to 90 years old.
The participants were part of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), a national longitudinal investigation of women that began in 1991 in the US. The women were followed for up to 21 years. The study also found that women who lived to age 90 were more likely to be college graduates, married, have a higher income and less likely to be obese or have a history of chronic disease.
“Our findings do not suggest that women should delay having a child, as the risk of obstetric complications, including gestational diabetes and hypertension, is higher with older maternal ages,” Shadya said.
“It is possible that surviving a pregnancy at an older age may be an indicator of good overall health, and as a result, a higher likelihood of longevity,” he said. “It is also possible that women who were older when they had their first child were of a higher social and economic status, and therefore, were more likely to live longer,” he added. The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health.