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Aurora magazine

Does pregnancy make one age earlier?

Pregnancy can be one of the most strenuous experiences in a woman's life. Modifies the body in a radical way, changes its balance and sometimes forces it to change its lifestyle.

A study by Northwestern University suggests that it could even stimulate aging. Researchers have focused on telomeres, which are the filaments of genetic material that correspond to the person's age. In fact, every time a cell divides, the filaments get shorter. This means that the more duplications there are, the shorter the telomeres are and the more years have passed. Not only: when they are completely consumed, the cell dies and can no longer duplicate itself.

Many studies prove that smoking, stress and poor diet shorten telomeres. As a result, they shorten cell life and the life of the person in general. The authors of the study then wondered if the pregnancy could have similar consequences. To prove it, they involved 800 Filipino women of about 20 years. The researchers analyzed the telomeres of women and crossed the data with those concerning pregnancies.

The women who had more gestations were biologically older. Nevertheless, during pregnancy the women had a more "youthful" epigenetic profile. How is it possible? According to Dr. Calen Ryan, one of the authors of the study, it may be that the temporary "rejuvenation" is due to the child. As long as the woman is pregnant, the baby's cells and blood contaminate her body and distort the results. To test this, further analysis and studies will be needed.