But it may be because women who give birth later tend to be well-off and educated, which raises life expectancy in any case
Women who have a baby in their 30s may live longer.
As the average age for a first-time mother hits 30 in the UK, fertility experts have warned that the trend for women to delay pregnancy may leave them childless.
But a new study by scientists at Portugal’s Coimbra University brings older mothers some good news.
It compared the life expectancies of mothers in European countries at 65 to the age they were when they had children.
Women who became mothers later in life were more likely to live longer than those who gave birth in in their teens and 20s, according to a paper published in the Journal of Public Health.
“The most relevant result shows that women tend to live longer the older they are when they get pregnant (in particular, for the first child),” it said.
Of several factors which determine women’s life expectancy, it said: “The most surprising factor is the age of women at pregnancy, which may provide evidence to promote pregnancy in the early 30s.”
A second study, published in the journal menopause Menopause journal, also found that mothers who gave birth at 33 or older were three times more like to have certain DNA markers for longevity than mothers who gave birth younger.
But neither study provided an explanation as to why older mothers may live longer.
Women who conceive later in life tend to be well-off and educated, fertility expert Lord Winston told The Mail on Sunday. Such women have longer life expectancies because they can afford healthier lifestyles, he added.
The average age of a first-time mother in the UK is 30. One in 25 UK births are to women over 40.
Women who plan to have children later in life have long been warned by fertility experts that they may end up childless, as chances of conception are higher while women are in their 20s.
NHS fertility chief Professor Geeta Nargund has warned Britain faces a ‘fertility timebomb’ because women do not realise the risk of leaving pregnancy until later in life.