Career women who postpone motherhood have reason to cheer as researchers have found that women who have babies later in life are likely to live longer.
Older maternal age at birth of the last child is linked with greater odds for surviving to an unusually old age, the findings showed.
The study that involved 462 women found a significant association for older maternal age, whereby women who had their last child beyond age 33 years and longer life compared with women who had their last child by age 29 years.
However, it was observed that having more children (identified as three or more) tempered the association between increased maternal age and later survival.
Mortality was not assessed for women who had no children.
According to the authors, the fact that numerous studies have documented the same relationship between older maternal age at birth and exceptional survival provides evidence for sustained reproductive fitness, with age as a selective force for genetic variants conducive to longer life.
“While this documented relationship is noteworthy, what is more meaningful is that these findings support the need to conduct additional studies that identify the various genetic influences on reproductive fitness, as these could also influence the rate of aging and a woman’s susceptibility to age-related diseases,” said Margery Gass, executive director, The North American Menopause Society.
The study appeared online in the journal Menopause.