Women who have their first child in their 30s will likely live longer than women who first become moms at age 20, according to a new study published in the Journal of Public Health. By comparing the life expectancies of women at the age of 65 across 28 European countries, researchers from the University of Coimbra in Portugal found a direct correlation between the age at which a woman gave birth and the age at which she was expected to die.
“In other words,” the researchers concluded, “the older the women are at birth, the longer they live.” In fact, they noted, “it may be justified to promote pregnancy in the early 30s as a means to extend women’s life span.”
The findings of the recent study confirm the results of previous research from 2014, where researchers found that women who had their last child after the age of 33 were twice as likely to reach age 95 than women who had their last child by age 29. But the author of the 2014 study, professor of medicine at Boston University Thomas Perls, did not agree that delaying pregnancy would improve women’s chances of living longer.
“The age at last childbirth can be a rate of aging indicator,” he wrote. “The natural ability to have a child at an older age likely indicates that a woman’s reproductive system is aging slowly, and therefore so is the rest of her body.”
Whatever the reason for the link between aging and childbirth, it appears that waiting to have kids could have benefits for mother and child alike. According to another study from April 2016, children born to older parents are more likely to be highly educated — and taller.
Read the full story at The Huffington Post.