Pregnancy Accelerates Cellular Aging, Researchers Say

A new study suggests that pregnancy may speed up cellular aging. It isn’t clear if it effects health as well…

The study in the journal Human Reproduction concluded that women who bore children experienced advanced cellular aging equivalent to 11 years. However, that doesn’t mean they will die 11 years earlier than women without children, noted Anna Pollack, PhD, a researcher at George Mason University in Virginia. Pollack’s team looked at data on about 2,000 women as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Her team examined telomeres, which are parts of DNA that are on the tips of our chromosomes. Some studies have linked shorter telomeres with impaired health and longevity. “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,” Pollack said in an interview with Newsweek.

But is there anything we can do to slow the process of aging?

“Reproductive fitness seems to correlate with overall physical fitness in most studies,” Santoro added. “My interpretation of these data [is] that we probably don’t know enough about what telomere length is truly telling us to make conclusions at this point in time.”

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