Mother’s Day in North America lands on May 9th this year, and other than honoring moms (which should be done every day of the year) we may reflect upon how motherhood changes women. There is actually a burgeoning science behind mothers’ health as differentiated from those who have not given birth.
As with everything in life, there’s an upside and a downside. Fortunately, motherhood appears to confer many striking pluses, a reward for all those labor pains and beyond!
• According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), women who have children are less likely to develop breast cancer. Being pregnant apparently reduces exposure to certain hormones that are linked to breast cancer—a direct result of not menstruating during pregnancy.
• The risk for breast cancer is further reduced if the mother breastfeeds, as the process the breast cells go through to produce milk, may prevent them from becoming cancerous.1
• A large 2009 study2 showed that mothers who breastfed for at least 12 months in their lifetime had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes than those who had never breastfed.
• The hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for spatial memory and learning, actually increases in size during pregnancy and motherhood. This led Canadian researchers to believe that the mother’s brain might actually grow with each child.3
• An Australian study, conducted in 2012 in a small rural town over more than 16 years, showed that despite a mild increase in the risk of being overweight, having diabetes or hypertension, mothers still had longer lifespans. Those with more than four children had an even lower risk of death—these effects are not fully understood but other studies in Israel and Norway showed similar results! 4
Do you know any mother who doesn’t worry about her children or how the environment affects them? Ironically, the World Health Organization (WHO) has isolated a specific environmental risk that puts mothers and other women most at risk: exposure to household air pollution. This is particularly true for women in low- and middle-income countries—the result of using polluting fuels for cooking, heating and lighting.5 The truth is that even in high-income nations, indoor air pollution is a challenge, resulting not from fuel usage but from mold, mildew, dander, air conditioning, central heating and chemical detergents and artificial deodorizers.
Air pollution affects women more than men. Chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma are more common in women over 50 compared to men in the same age group—these conditions are directly related to breathing in polluted air. Fine particles and ozone are recognized as the most harmful air pollutants.6
To exercise caution, never use outdoor products indoors, including pesticides and cleaning agents, in the form of powders, gels, liquids, or sprays—powerful chemicals used in the garden or outside the house to clean surfaces and kill pests. After using these products, always wash your hands and any other parts of your body or clothing that might have been exposed to them.
May is not only the month we honor mothers. It’s also Asthma and Allergy Awareness month. Why not take advantage of the outstanding May promotion for the KenkoAir Purifier® and get 30% off the regular price? Why not celebrate mom with the gift of clean air and Active Wellness?