Many parents may jokingly say that having kids has taken years off their lives—but newly released research disagrees with that.
The study, which was published in the journal BMC Medicine, sought to determine how certain reproductive factors impact an individual's lifespan.
After examining data from more than 300,000 European women for roughly 13 years, researchers concluded that bearing children and breastfeeding can extend the length of a woman's life.
Within that time, more than 143,000 of the participants died—more than 6,000 from cancer.
It was found that women who breastfed outlived those who did not. Additionally, there were fewer deaths among women who had a baby between 26 and 30 years of age.
Childbearing was also found to impact a woman's risk of cancer. Mothers had a decreased risk of developing cancer than women who didn't have children, and women who gave birth to two or three kids had a lower risk than women who only gave birth to one child.
Starting menstruation at a later age and the use of birth control pills were also found to have potentially beneficial health affects.
Researchers note that they've found an association, but that does not prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Still, it sounds like good news to us!
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn.