Pregnant women age faster, research shows

Pregnant women age faster, research shows
Pregnant women age faster, research shows

Tired? No, exhausted! Creating new life sometimes makes us feel as if we have stepped into a time machine and suddenly added a few extra years. This has everything to do with your biological age.

An international research team is perplexed after determining the biological age of women during and after pregnancy.

A big reset

During the second half of pregnancy, the biological age of the expectant mothers ticked forward about two years. But the real wow moment didn’t come until about three months after giving birth, researcher Kieran O’Donnell reveals. “We saw that the biological age then decreased remarkably quickly. For some women even up to eight years younger. So, even though pregnancy pushes up the biological age, there is clearly a significant reset after childbirth.”

Also read – Customized medicines: dose platform for pregnant women

Biological clock

The research focused on the biological age of pregnant women. This was measured during different phases of pregnancy.

“You probably know your chronological age: the number of years, months and days since you were born,” O’Donnell explains. “But biological age refers to how quickly our organs, tissues and cells age, which can lead to an age that is higher (or lower) than our chronological age.” There are various methods to determine biological age, such as DNA methylation. This process, which involves chemical changes in DNA, can give us an idea of ​​a person’s true age. And that is exactly what the researchers did during and after pregnancy.

Surprising discovery

The results were particularly striking after childbirth. Around that time, aging seemed to have already reversed considerably. Some women were even up to eight years younger. It was also notable that women with a higher BMI prior to pregnancy rejuvenated less after giving birth. On the other hand, breastfeeding after childbirth led to a sharp decrease in biological age.

Also read – Why time seems to fly faster and faster as we get older(s).

Younger than ever

An aging of two years during pregnancy, followed by a rejuvenation of eight years after childbirth. This suggests that some women are biologically younger after pregnancy. However, this remains to be confirmed by further studies that also include the period prior to pregnancy.

More research

Why biological age increases during pregnancy and then decreases again remains a question mark. O’Donnell notes that pregnancy is seen as a natural “stress test.” “This physiological stress may lead to changes that are corrected after delivery. Further research is crucial to understand these processes and thus improve the health of pregnant women.”

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The article is in Dutch

Tags: Pregnant women age faster research shows


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