Studies Show Having More Babies May Help You Live Longer


When you become pregnant, you’re instantly flooded with all kinds of medical and health advice. You’re told to change your diet, stop some habits (smoking, drinking alcohol), start new ones (daily supplements, drinking lots of water) and drastically reduce others (one cup of coffee). All of these precautions are important. Pay attention to them.

With all of the potential health hazards you need to navigate during pregnancy, it’s good to know that there are actually health benefits associated with pregnancy.

Recent studies have linked a number of health benefits to higher gravidity (gravidity is a clinical term used for the number of pregnancies a woman has). Among these benefits are:

  • Menopause beginning later in life
  • Shortened duration of menopause
  • Healthier body mass index
  • Less likely to need estrogen therapy
  • Lower risk of death from heart disease

The benefits seemed to peak for those women who have had four pregnancies. While women who have had five or more pregnancies had a lower risk of heart disease than women with 0-3 pregnancies, they had a slightly higher risk than those who had four pregnancies.

The exact relation between pregnancies and cardiovascular disease is not fully understood. It is believed that the hormonal changes during pregnancy have long term benefits to your heart’s health. Further studies are being conducted in hopes of understanding how pregnancy can affect longevity.

There are a number of other health benefits related to having babies, including a reduced chance of certain types of cancer. Having even one baby reduces your chance of contracting ovarian cancer. If you choose to breastfeed, you will also lower your chances of contracting breast cancer.

Of course, you should pay careful attention to your doctor’s advice during pregnancy. While you’re going through morning sickness, aches, pains, and eventually labor and delivery, you probably won’t give much thought to the health benefits of being pregnant. Most of us don’t worry about heart disease until long after our childbearing years. Still, if current studies prove correct, every baby you have (at least until the fourth one) improves your life expectancy.

What do you think? How will this information affect how many children you would like to have?

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