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Good News for Older Moms? Delaying Pregnancy Could Reduce Your Risk for Ovarian Cancer

Pregnancy and cancer risk
I was over 35 when I was ready to try to get pregnant, so I knew I'd be facing down a lot of challenges. First, there was the question of whether or not fertility would be an issue for me. And then there were all the concerns about genetic abnormalities, risks for which increase with maternal age during pregnancy.

But maybe it would have taken a bit of the edge off my fears if I had seen this latest study: A new study, presented by doctoral student Alice Lee at the University of Southern California this week at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, suggests that older moms may actually have a lower risk of ovarian cancer.

The research found that women who have their first child in their mid-30s or later may have a decreased risk of the cancer, compared to women who have their first children earlier. The research comes from an analysis of close to 1,700 Los Angeles women who had ovarian cancer, as well as close to 2,400 who did not have it.

The researchers discovered every five-year increase in a woman's age when her first child is born corresponded to a 16 percent lower risk for the cancer. Because I had my first children at 35 or later, I would be in the category of women in that age group who had a 46 percent decrease in risk compared with women who gave birth to their first child before they hit 20.

Related: What to Know About Infertility in Your 20s, 30s and 40s

So there's a bit of encouraging news for older mamas out there—in the face of what can often feel like a daunting number of discouraging reports.

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Alesandra Dubin is a new twin mom. She's also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of lifestyle blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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