-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- Naturally conceiving and
giving birth to twins may be a sign of good health, new research
The study found that among women who were born in Utah in the
1800s, those who gave birth to twins tended to live longer than the
mothers of singletons.
University of Utah researchers analyzed records on nearly 59,000
non-polygamous women in the Utah Population Database who were born
between 1807 and 1899 and lived to at least age 50. Of those women,
about 4,600 gave birth to twins.
Among women born before 1870, mothers who had twins had a 7.6
percent lower yearly risk of dying after age 50 than mothers who
had one baby at a time. Among women born between 1870 and 1899, the
risk was 3.3 percent lower for moms who had twins, although that
was not statistically significant.
The study also found that mothers of twins had more children
than normal, had a shorter interval between births, and were older
when they had their last child.
"The prevailing view is that the burden of childbearing on women is heavier when bearing twins," senior author and demographer Ken R. Smith, a professor of family and consumer studies, said in a university news release. "But we found the opposite: women who naturally bear twins in fact live longer and are actually more fertile."
The finding that mothers of twins tend to live longer does not
mean that having twins is healthy for women, Smith explained.
Indeed, the study did not look at women who died in childbirth
or before menopause, but only those who reached at least age
But the findings suggest that healthier women are more likely to
The study is published in the May 11 online edition of the
Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
"This study has been able to identify -- and it's a fairly novel result -- another important factor that contributes to health and longevity in later years, namely, that women bearing twins appear to be healthier," Smith said. "That innate healthiness is contributing to their ability to have twins, and it is also contributing to their longevity."
Smith directs the University of Utah's Pedigree and Population
Resource, which maintains and manages the Utah Population
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has
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