Advanced maternal age benefits: Older moms live longer?

A new study suggests some "advanced maternal age" benefits. New moms who have babies when they are older may live longer than younger moms. But are we seeing the full picture?

Mom holds new baby
Photo: iStockphoto

Women who wait to have children are often told about all the cons of being of “advanced maternal age,” but are there some benefits? There was some good news in a study last week—older moms are more likely to live longer.

Menopause published a study that said women who gave birth after the age of 33 are twice as likely to live to the age of 95 as women who gave birth at 29. This doesn’t mean that women should wait longer to have children. The researcher clarifies that having children later does not increase your life span. Doctors think that a healthy reproductive system at an older age is a sign of good overall health.

“We think that a woman’s ability to have children at a later age is evidence that her reproductive system is aging more slowly, and that the rest of her system is also aging more slowly,” says Thomas Perls, a geriatrician at Boston Medical Center.

I just love the idea of seeing my great-grandchildren so this study makes me happy, even though I understand having babies after 33 is not the fountain of youth (unfortunately).

Studying when women stop having babies is not a very good indicator of the health of their reproductive system since women make so many personal choices around their fertility.  Many women choose to stop having children before they turn 30. Also, the increase in IVF and fertility treatments mean that women can have babies later in life.

Because of these issues the authors are continuing their research, saying that the age of menopause may be a better indicator of length of time of fertility and life span.

So add living longer to my list of reasons in wanting to delay the onset of menopause.

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