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03rd May 2018

Having more than two children ‘significantly’ damages a mother’s health

As if we didn't have enough to worry about!

Gillian Fitzpatrick

I’m a mum of two myself – a girl aged five and a two-and-a-half year old boy.

It’s fairly hectic, and while the prospect of a third child does seem lovely at times, I’d be the first to admit that I’m not sure how I’d cope if a newborn arrived into our family.

Which is why one new study caught my eye… and it makes for pretty shocking reading: having more than two kids significantly damages a mother’s health.

That presumably means alarm bells for the likes of Jules Oliver – the wife of Jamie and a mum-of-five – Victoria Beckham, who has four kids, and the Duchess of Cambridge, who recently gave birth to her third.

The research was led by Cambridge University and states that the more children a woman has, the greater her risk of the likes of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.

Not only that, but those with five or more children (god bless you) were 40 percent more likely to have a serious heart attack in the next 30 years compared to women with one or two children. They also had a 30 percent greater chance of heart disease; were a quarter more likely to have a stroke, and 17 percent more likely to have heart failure.

That’s all pretty stark.

In short, pregnancy and labour put strain on your heart, while children in themselves are stressful. That and as a mum, all too often we put everything else first… and ourselves last. So the likes of diet, exercise, and wellness are simply not priorities.

Cambridge’s Dr Clare Oliver-Williams, who led the research, said: “We know that pregnancy and childbirth put a tremendous strain on the heart, and raising children can be very stressful too.

“We don’t want to add to the stress people have in their everyday lives but equip them with the knowledge to do something about it.”

The study looked at 8,000 women from the United States, who were aged between 45 and 64.

Women who have had miscarriages were found to have a 60 percent greater risk of heart disease – but this is likely to be the result of underlying health problems that increase the chances of pregnancy loss, the researchers explained.