Media reports highlight study finding pregnancy MAY speed up biological ageing

by | Apr 10, 2024 | Medical Aesthetics | 0 comments

Reading the papers over breakfast this morning (after a fantastic early workout), I spotted something that I knew I would get calls and emails about and it has proven to be true.

It is afterall, something of an alarming headline but hey, that’s how headlines work.

The Guardian has published a very interesting piece reporting on a study by scientists at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York.

The study, involving 825 young women, found that each individual pregnancy a woman reported was linked with an additional two to three months of biological ageing.

That’s pretty alarming isn’t it?

They also noted women who reported being pregnant more often during a six-year follow-up period showed a greater increase in biological ageing during that period.

So what are we to make of this?

First of all, the key phrase here is “MAY” – it is part of a study which in turn is part of many more studies around the globe at any one time.

Calen Ryan, the lead author and associate research scientist in the Columbia Aging Center, said: 

Our findings suggest that pregnancy speeds up biological ageing…and are also the first to follow the same women through time, linking changes in each woman’s pregnancy number to changes in her biological age.”

However, please note the context: “Many of the reported pregnancies in our baseline measure occurred during late adolescence, when women are still growing.

Ryan adds: “We still have a lot to learn about the role of pregnancy and other aspects of reproduction in the ageing process. We also do not know the extent to which accelerated epigenetic ageing in these particular individuals will manifest as poor health or mortality decades later in life.”


We still have a lot to learn but this has really got tongues wagging in press rooms around the UK and I understand that. However, there is also research that shows this process is then reversed after pregnancy but that isn’t quite so media friendly is it?

In the meantime, my advice is to focus on a nutrient rich diet, regular exercise which is suited to pregnancy (always under the supervision of a healthcare professional) and to keep hydrated due to the demands created by the foetus so please drink plenty of water.

If you are really into this, the findings are published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences but… if you have any concerns, drop me a line and we can have a chat.