Kids can surely bring a lot of joy and happiness to the home, however does one ever sit back and think about the one bearing it. Apparently giving birth in less than an 18 month gap increases the risk of poor health in due course and can infact even result in early death of the woman.
Further on, childless moms are not the only ones in danger of the risk of earlier death and poorer health, for keeping them company are also mothers of five or more children, teenage mothers and childless women.
Findings are based on a study of three separate datasets of women born from 1911 onwards in Great Britain and the USA.
Professor Emily Grundy of the Centre for Population Studies, School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London said that in the study the researchers analyzed the long-term health implications of parents, thereby keeping track of education and socio-economic factors.
“In this study we were able to analyze the long-term health implications of a person’s partnership and parenting experiences while taking into account education and other indicators of socio-economic status as well,” Grundy said.
Grundy added that the findings are significant revelations as they not only show the importance of having intervals between the births of children, but also show the implications of teenage pregnancies as well as childlessness on women’s health.
“We show, for example, that having a short birth interval of less than 18 months between children carries higher risks of mortality and poor health. That finding is particularly interesting because, to our knowledge, it’s the first time that later health consequences of birth intervals have been investigated in a developed country population,” she said.
This study also gives further proof of the link between teenage motherhood and poorer health in later life. It also reveals that teenage mothers have poorer mental health at age 53 than other mothers.
“What’s particularly interesting here is that our findings indicate poorer health outcomes for women who have children before age 21 regardless of their socio-economic circumstances in childhood,” Grundy remarked.
In terms of the influence of partnership on later life health and mortality, this study confirms other research which indicates that marriage offers more health gains and is more beneficial for men than women. For men, spending a long time in a stable marriage and avoiding multiple marriages and divorce contributes to long-term health.
For women, too, marriage may be better for their health than they currently believe.
The study reveals that when self-rating their health, married women report poorer health than unmarried women. But the mortality rates of unmarried women are higher than those of married women.
“We have shown that partnership and parenting histories are important influences on later life health and, in many cases, are as influential as the effects of a person’s socio-economic status. Overall, these findings clearly have important implications for projections of the health status of the older population as well as contributing to our understanding of life course influences on health,” Professor Gundy concluded.