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Oh, Boy! How a Son Can Shave 8.5 Months Off His Mom’s Life Span

Toddler boy

Grrrrrrrr

If you thought having a toddler was giving you grey hair, if your toddler is a boy, it seems as if he might just do more than make you visit your colorist frequently.

A new study by evolutionary ecologist Dr. Samuli Helle of the University of Turu in Finland and Dr. Virpi Lummaa of the University of Sheffeld in the United Kingdom, which was published in the journal Biology Letters, found that boys can “shave an average of eight and a half months off of a mom’s life,” according to Yahoo Shine.

The doctors looked at post-childbirth survival rates of thousands of mothers and fathers in pre-industrial Finland and found that “irrespective of access to resources, mothers . . . with many sons suffered from reduced post-reproductive survival.”

Social or financial status didn’t affect a mom’s life span — but moms with daughters lived on average for 33.1 years after her youngest girl was born compared to moms with sons, who lived an average 32.4 years after her youngest boy was born.

The discrepancy is partly attributed by the researchers to the fact that in Finlands in the 1700s and 1800s, girls helped relieve their moms of some of the household responsibilities.

The researchers also assert that since male babies are usually bigger than female babies, carrying and delivering a girl takes less of a toll on a mom’s body.

However, modern-day moms of boys don’t need to kick their sons to the curb just yet.

“Twenty-first century families are smaller than they were in the 1700s, 1800s, and early 1900s, and better nutrition, medical care, and birth control options mean that women are far healthier now than they used to be,” Lylah Alphonse writes for Yahoo Shine.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering — sons appeared to only affect their mother‘s life span; they have no affect on their father’s life. It appears that’s what daughters are for.

Photo credit: iStock

More from Meredith on Babble’s Toddler blog:

Read (even) more from Meredith at Babble’s Mom blog, follow her on Twitter, and check out her weekly column on the Op-Ed page of The Denver Post at MeredithCarroll.com

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