Being a mum ages women FASTER than smoking or being fat, experts discover

BEING a mum really does age a woman – faster than smoking and obesity, experts have discovered.

Any mother will tell you they feel worn out, exhausted and that their body is no longer the same post-birth.

Now, a team of scientists believe having kids could actually age a woman's DNA.

To look at how motherhood impacts a woman at a cellular level, the researchers at George Mason University, in Virginia, examined telomeres.

Telomeres are essential parts of human cells that affect how our cells age.

They are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect the chromosomes – like plastic tips at the end of shoelaces.

As people age their telomeres shorten, therefore telomere length is linked to better health and longer life, experts believe.

The new findings show the telomeres of women with kids are the same length as those 11 years older, and childless, Newsweek reports.

Researcher Anna Pollack, said: "We were surprised to find such a striking result.

"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."

We know that having kids is associated with a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes

The researchers analysed data from around 2,000 women aged 20 to 44.

They found the shortening of telomeres in mums was greater than smoking or getting fat.

One average, the findings showed women in the study lost about 10 base pairs of DNA a year.

But women with kids had 116 base pairs less than those the same age who hadn't given birth.

Pollack added: "We know that having kids is associated with a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes.



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"And some large studies have liked telomere length to mortality risk and risks of other major diseases."

But, the findings don't mean mums are likely to die 11 years earlier than childless women.

A study published in 2016 found mums who give birth in their 30s are more likely to live longer.

Researchers in the US found the older a woman was when she had her last child, the longer her telomere length.

The new findings were published in the journal Human Reproduction.


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