Study Reveals Pregnancy May Accelerate Biological Aging in Women; Expert Insights


The study involved DNA samples from 1,735 people.

The study involved DNA samples from 1,735 people.

The study, which included 825 young women, found that each reported pregnancy was linked to an additional two to three months of biological aging

A recent study by scientists at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York indicates that pregnancy may accelerate biological aging in women. Researchers analyzed reproductive histories and DNA samples from 1,735 participants in a long-term health survey in the Philippines, using six different “epigenetic clocks” to estimate biological age based on DNA methylation patterns.

The study, which included 825 young women, found that each reported pregnancy was linked to an additional two to three months of biological aging. Women with more frequent pregnancies over a six-year follow-up period exhibited greater increases in biological aging. These findings held true even after accounting for socioeconomic status, smoking, genetic variation, and environmental factors. Notably, the study found no link between increased biological aging and the number of pregnancies fathered by 910 men from the same survey.

Calen Ryan, the lead author and an associate research scientist at the Columbia Aging Center, stated,“Our findings suggest that pregnancy speeds up biological aging, and that these effects are apparent in young, high-fertility women. Our results are also the first to follow the same women through time, linking changes in each woman’s pregnancy number to changes in her biological age.”

Ryan highlighted the context, noting that many pregnancies in the baseline measure occurred during late adolescence, a particularly challenging time for young mothers, especially those with limited access to healthcare and resources.

Dr. Sonia Golani, Consultant Gynaecologist and Obstetrician, Bhailal Amin General Hospital in Vadodara, added an insightful perspective, “Pregnancy, a journey of unparalleled beauty and sacrifice, unveils a profound interplay between creation and aging within a woman’s biology. Each heartbeat of a mother-to-be echoes with the delicate dance of cellular aging, revealing the intricate tapestry of life’s chapters. As telomeres shorten amidst the miraculous orchestration of new life, we witness the nuanced dialogue between the gift of maternity and the toll it exacts on the body’s vitality. Yet, amidst the strains of pregnancy’s stressors, hope gleams like a beacon, for cells possess the remarkable capacity to rebound, to rejuvenate, and to reclaim their vigor postpartum.”

Indeed, within the cradle of uncertainty lies the promise of renewal, as the march of time may briefly hasten, only to pause and recalibrate in the gentle rhythm of maternal care.

“As science delves deeper into the nexus of pregnancy and aging, we stand poised to unravel the mysteries that shape our understanding of womanhood’s divine alchemy. Let us embrace this revelation with reverence, for within its grasp lies the power to empower women on their sacred odyssey of motherhood, safeguarding their legacy of love and vitality for generations to come,” Dr Golani signs off.



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