The team of researchers were surprised to find that one of the effects of motherhood is aging the cells in a woman's body by more than 11 years, which is more drastic than we previously thought!
Being a mum isn’t easy. From carrying a child for nine months to giving birth, breastfeeding, caring for your bub and more, motherhood entails a lot of sacrifices and effort. We all know that being a mum takes its toll on us in different ways. But according to a recent study, one of the effects of motherhood might even be more drastic than previously thought.
What are these effects of motherhood?
Anna Pollack, an epidemiologist from George Mason University, and her team, found that women who have given birth show signs of accelerated genetic ageing. They tested the genetic material of almost 2,000 women in the US and shared their findings.
“We were surprised to find such a striking result,” Pollack shared.
“It is equivalent to around 11 years of accelerated cellular ageing”
They found that the telomeres (a type of genetic marker that shows a person’s age on a cellular level) of women who have given birth are 4.2% shorter compared to those without children. This translates to 11 years of accelerated cellular ageing.
In an interview with Newsweek, Pollack said, “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.” This means that the more children a woman has, the more significant the impact is.
Pollack, a mum herself, quipped, “Anecdotally, just chatting with my friends who have children, we all do feel that having kids has aged us.
“But scientifically, this does fit with what we understand pretty well. We know that having kids is associated with a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes. And some large studies have linked telomere length to mortality risk and risks of other major diseases.”
She added that they’re not saying that women should stop having children, or that mums will die earlier. That’s because many factors can affect a person’s telomeres, including smoking, being overweight, and stress.
How can you deal with mum stress effectively?
Mums deal with a lot on a day-to-day basis. Studies have shown that too much stress has a negative impact on a person’s health. And one of the known effects of motherhood is that it can cause a lot of stress.
That’s why mums need to know how they can deal and manage their anxieties.
Here are some useful tips and tricks!
1. Know the signs
Knowing what triggers your stress can help you avoid those triggers and better manage the times when you’re under a lot of stress. It also helps you from exposing yourself to too much stress, so you can take a step back and de-stress.
2. Take breaks
Don’t be afraid to take breaks. If you feel that you’re too tired to care for your little bub, ask your husband, a close friend, or a relative to help you out. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, especially if there are people willing to help you out.
3. Figure out what you can do to de-stress
For some mums, getting a pedi or reading a book can help them de-stress. Some like to bake or watch television. Focus on the activities that help you relax and lower your stress levels.
4. Try deep breathing or meditation exercises
Deep breathing and meditation exercises have been known to significantly reduce stress levels. Try doing these exercises to help calm you down or help you deal when you’re stressed out from too many problems.
5. Exercise with your family
It might sound tiring, but exercise really does help when it comes to dealing with stress. It helps keep your body strong and relieve tension.
Take the time to look on the bright side and just laugh. Tell jokes to your kids, or play with them and just have fun; focus on enjoying yourself and giving yourself time to relax and recuperate.
7. Have a support group
Lastly, having a group of mums that you can talk to when it comes to your problems is really helpful. It’s always a good idea to connect with other mums since they know exactly what you’re going through, and they can really help you out when it comes to dealing with stress.
Source: Science Alert