Older Moms Live Longer, According to New Research

Women who have children later in life may live longer—at least if these findings are any indication.

Older Moms Live Longer pyrozhenka/Shutterstock
It's no secret that moms are delaying motherhood these days. Whether it's because they wish to pursue more education, advance their careers before becoming moms, or are simply marrying later in life, women around the country are extending their child-free years—and they may also be extending their lives by doing so.

A recent study from researchers at the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine finds that women who become mothers later in life may live longer. Researchers observed more than 28,000 women and found that about half of these women lived to age 90. The thing that characterized the women who lived longer? They had children later in life.

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health, found that women who gave birth after 25 were 11 percent more likely to live to 90. But the question is...why?

One theory is that lifestyle factors could play a role. "It is possible that surviving a pregnancy at an older age may be an indicator of good overall health, and as a result, a higher likelihood of longevity," says research Aladdin Shadyab in a release for the study. "It is also possible that women who were older when they had their first child were of a higher social and economic status, and therefore, were more likely to live longer.” We previously shared news that suggests that women who give birth after 25 may be healthier overall. And as our sister site Parents previously reported, other studies have suggested that delaying motherhood could make you smarter as well—but as researchers point out, that doesn't necessarily mean you should delay motherhood to increase your longevity, as pregnancy complications are more common in older patients.

“Our findings do not suggest that women should delay having a child, as the risk of obstetric complications, including gestational diabetes and hypertension, is higher with older maternal ages," Shadyab says. "Our findings have several public health implications. We hope this is a foundation to help identify targets for future interventions among women in the preconception and family planning phases of their lives, which may improve women’s healthy longevity in the long term.”