January 4, 2022 2:04 pm
Having a child is an impactful life event. In addition to the schedule changes and expenses associated with raising a child, there is also a woman’s own health to consider. Research shows that not having kids can raise the risk of certain health issues, like breast cancer. However, having kids can also raise the risk of cardiovascular disease for some women, and in others it can lead to chronic pain.
How Childbirth Can Improve Your Health
Conclusive research has shown that women who give birth have a slightly lower risk of developing breast, ovarian or endometrial cancers. That benefit seems to improve with each additional full-term pregnancy, especially for women who gave birth before 30.
Other studies have found that women who have not had children may have an increased risk of premature death or psychiatric problems. But much of the research has not taken into account other factors that could improve longevity, like income levels or health conditions that may lead a woman to choose not to have children.
How Having Kids Can Harm Your Health
While some women have easy pregnancies with few health problems, others may experience complications like pre-eclampsia (a type of high blood pressure) or gestational diabetes. Both of these pregnancy-related conditions greatly increase the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, vascular disease and stroke.
A smaller percentage of women experience chronic pain after pregnancy. And simply giving birth can lead to deadly blood clots, hemorrhages or heart problems. The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country, especially in women of color.
Age During Pregnancy Can Affect Health Outcomes
Although complications during pregnancy can happen at any age, women 35 and older are more likely to experience problems. Women can get pregnant after 35, and not all women that age will need fertility assistance. But the chances of getting pregnant go from 1 in 4 in any given month for women in their 20s to 1 in 10 by the time a woman turns 40. And as health conditions like heart disease and diabetes increase as people age, pregnancy in older women can be associated with increased risk for complications.
If a woman requires fertility treatment, she will take certain hormones to boost the likelihood of getting pregnant. Studies have shown these treatments do not increase the risk of developing breast or endometrial cancer. It is not yet known if there is a connection to ovarian cancer.
The women’s health specialists at Magnolia Regional Health Center can answer all your questions about the pros and cons of pregnancy. Make an appointment today.
This post was written by Magnolia Regional Health Center