Ladies who choose to expand their families in their “older” years become accustomed to the slew of warnings that tumble in from every corner. If it’s not your doctor warning you that you’re increasing autism risks, there is the added tip from family and friends that you’re upping all kinds of pregnancy complications. But although not all the science is there yet, scientists have reason to suspect that waiting on motherhood comes hand in hand with a decreased risk of endometrial cancer.
MyHealthNewsDaily reports that researchers took a look at 17 different studies that analyzed 8,671 women with endometrial cancer and 16,562 healthy women. After controlling for other risk factors such as number of children and contraception use, researchers learned that mommies who gave birth over the age of 40 were 44 percent less likely to have the cancer than women whose last birth occurred at age 25 (or before). The decreased risk was noted all down the line, with women who birthed their last baby between the ages of 35 and and 39 seeing a 32 percent cut and women between 30 and 34 seeing a 17 percent cut.
Author Wendy Setiawan, a professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, described the effects as “protection” which “persists for many years.” She and her team don’t have any conclusive reasoning as to why birthing later in life would benefit a lady’s uterus, but here are some of the theories:
Setiawan said it may be that hormone levels during pregnancy are beneficial in preventing cancer at older ages. Giving birth may rid the uterus of cancer-causing cells, she said, or it could be that women who are able to become pregnant later in life have healthier uteruses to begin with.
We’re clearly not there with the data yet. But considering that we’re seeing “dramatic” increases in women birthing in their 40s, such findings could make a world of difference to many contemporary families.