Are you approaching your 30’s and absolutely tired of your family dogging you with questions about your uncertain future? When are you going to have kids? You’re not going to look this good later in life so why wait to find the perfect mate to settle down and start a family?
I have great news for you career-minded, socially conscious ladies out there—waiting to bear children significantly lengthens your lifespan.
This recent brief released by The New York Post gets into the cool science behind why it’s best to wait to start a family well into your 30’s. Let’s take a look at what researchers from The North American Menopause Society had to say on the matter.
“The study confirmed that maternal age at last birth is positively associated with telomere length, meaning that women who delivered their last child later in life were likely to have longer telomeres, a biomarker of long-term health and longevity. This finding was restricted to women with one or two live births or who had used oral contraceptives.”
What are telomeres?
Oxford University Press released an author’s statement in a PubMed article available in full here.
“Telomeres are essential parts of human cells that affect how our cells age.
They are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect the chromosomes – like plastic tips at the end of shoelaces.
As people age, their telomeres shorten, therefore telomere length is linked to better health and longer life, experts believe.”
What this research makes abundantly clear is that conversely, shorter telomere length is linked to chronic conditions. These chronic conditions can include an increased chance of developing heart disease, diabetes, obesity, neurological disorders and even cancer.
Elizabeth Blackburn, an award-winning author of The Telomere Effect, won a Nobel Prize in Medicine for her novel findings in the importance of maintaining telomere health. Having a balanced diet full of plant-based proteins such as leafy greens, fruit, whole grains with complex carbohydrates, nuts and legumes significantly improve your health and lifespan.
Foods full of antioxidants are also recommended for telomere health such as blueberries, seaweed, and matcha green tea. Switch out green tea for your morning coffee and see how much better you feel.
Lifestyle changes that can also benefit cellular longevity and lower premature mortality rates are exercising, stress management through meditation or therapy, and community support systems that provide comfort.
Having access to community support, therapy, and enough space to engage in physical activity such as HITT workouts recommended by these experts at Harvard is one of the best ways to stay fit and healthy to support our cellular health.
Businesses must also provide enough maternal relief and support for women attempting to “have it all” in their personal life as well as their careers. Discriminatory practices in hiring women must also be looked at and done away with completely to keep the workforce and more than half of our population happy and healthy for a long time to come.
Having five or more kids affects telomere length
A previous study looked at a sample size of 1,200 perimenopausal and postmenopausal women and took note of the length of their telomere’s. This case study and its findings are broken down more succinctly in the following press release.
Women who gave birth later in life were found to have longer telomeres usually linked to longer lifespans and better health compared to their inherently fertile nubile counterparts.
Researcher Anna Pollack confirmed another interesting factor when studying these women.
“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.”
This means women who have multiple children at a young age cause cellular stress on par with women who smoke, drink, eat in excess or have sleep and mood disorders.
Anna Pollack studies socio-environmental elements that adversely affect cellular health and telomere length in childbearing women from multiple backgrounds.
Living in stressful environments compounded by financial stress and the burden of raising multiple children in lower-middle-class families also adversely affects DNA health, thus shortening lifespan in women who come from strained households.
I found this data from a study released the other day found here. Researchers took the sample size of 1,200 women’s ethnicities and backgrounds into account from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, unlike previous studies to make it extra clear the all-encompassing data and factors attributed to cellular stress inflicted upon our telomeres.
Good news for career girls
This is great news for those of us who opted to forge a career before starting a family. Send this article to your mom the next time she nags you about when she can hold her grandbabies. Waiting until you’re ready to start a family later in life will keep you alive longer to enjoy those precious milestones in your child’s life if you choose to have one.