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Photo: Theresa Martell via Flickr

You might FEEL like you’re running yourself into an early grave, but new research from Simon Fraser University in BC suggests that moms that have multiple children have healthier DNA. The study conducted surveyed 75 women from two rural communities in Guatemala. Their telomere lengths were measured through cheek and saliva swabs taken twice 13 years apart. What the heck are telomeres, you may ask? Well, a telomere is a repeating DNA sequence (for example, TTAGGG) at the end of our chromosomes. As we age, and our cells divide, the ends of our telemeres shorten.

The research suggested that women who had multiple children showed a slower pace of telomere shortening, which increases longevity. The study leader Pablo Nepomnaschy, a health sciences professor from Simon Fraser, has a theory: “the slower pace of telomere shortening found in the study participants who have more children may be attributed to the dramatic increase in estrogen, a hormone produced during pregnancy. Estrogen functions as a potent antioxidant that protects cells against telomere shortening.”

Professor Nepomnaschy also suggests that a supportive environment, meaning encouragement and assistance from family members and friends, may contribute to the moms longevity. “Greater support leads to an increase in the amount of metabolic energy that can be allocated to tissue maintenance, thereby slowing down the process of aging.”

All that to say: go make more babies (apparently).

What do you think? Tell us in the comments!