Giving Birth 10 Times Reduces Your Risk of Cancer

In a story I found to be a little more than shocking, it turns out that giving birth may not be the unpleasant, horrific sensation that I've been dreading doing again for the fourth time. 

Just kidding. 

It's still unpleasant. 

But surprisingly enough, giving birth 10 times may reduce your risk of cancer. 

{ MORE: Why I'm Scared To Have a Fourth Baby }

baby_birth
Image via Flickr/ @boetter

I had a hard time believing this one when I read it, but the word is out: giving birth 10 or more times doesn't make a woman crazy, but it can make a woman less at risk for cancer.

The study, an interesting one out of Finland, found that women who had given birth to 10, or even more children, might have a reduced risk of cancer. In comparing Finnish women who had given birth 10 or more times (which, I'm curious as to 1) how they were able to find that many women who had that many kids and 2) what on earth made them think of this study in the first place?) to the general population, the researchers expected to find similar cancer rates and maybe even increased complications for women who had been pregnant so many times. 

{ MORE: 5 Reasons I'm Glad We Have a Large Family }

But not only did the researchers find reduced cancer rates among the 10+ birth women, but the rates were significantly lower—as in 24% lower.

The disparity was due, in large part, to a reduced rate of ovarian and breast cancers—common types of cancer in women—but also commonly reduced for women who have had children. One of the study's researchers noted that one of the biggest factors in the reduced cancer rate was the fact that the 10+ women gave birth about five years earlier than their counterparts, which he stated is a “known” preventor of breast cancer. 

Interesting. 

They predict that giving birth earlier and more frequently gives cancer cells less time to grow and less fuel to grow, as estrogen levels can be reduced. 

Some types of skin cancer and thyroid cancer were also found to be reduced, and for all cancers, the rate was lessened with five births and lessened even further after 10 births. Researchers are still looking into the reasons why, although there is also the sheer fact that women who are able to undergo pregnancy and birth so many times may be healthy to begin with as well. 

So what do you think? Does this make you want to have 10 kids? 

What do you think?

Giving Birth 10 Times Reduces Your Risk of Cancer

Chaunie Brusie is a coffee mug addict, a labor and delivery nurse turned freelance writer, and a young(ish) mom of four. She is the author of "Tiny Blue Lines: Preparing For Your Baby, Moving Forward In Faith, & Reclaiming Your Life In An Unplanned Pregnancy" and "The Moments That Made You A Mother". She also runs Passion Meets Practicality, a community of tips + inspiration for work-at-home mothers. ... More

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25 comments

  1. Profile photo of Elisabeth Elisabeth says:

    I think that if people have 10 kids just so that they reduce the risk of getting cancer that is the most selfish thing ever especially since that does not necessarily mean you still cant get it. I honestly hope nobody even thinks about basing their decision on family size based on this information. Its 2014, nobody should be having 10 kids anyway anymore. We have birth control now, very low infant death rates and most people dont need their kids to work on the farm, like they did a long time ago, so this should be a non issue.

  2. Profile photo of Marie Marie says:

    I’ve had ten. People roll their eyes at me but I know the benefits of breastfeeding and this report just makes it even better.

  3. Profile photo of Mackenzie Mackenzie says:

    tell that to my mom who had 12 kids but still managed to get lung and breast cancer 3 times..

  4. Profile photo of wanda wanda says:

    well that is good to know considering i’m expecting my 11th baby. I didn’t plan to have ten children so please don’t judge. I can imagine people thinking I have ten little babies running around my house like the woman who lives in a shoe. I have three adult children and the fourth one is about to be 18 this year. I had my first child when I was 17. i’m 43 now.

  5. Profile photo of wanda wanda says:

    well that is good to know considering i’m expecting my 11th baby. I didn’t plan to have ten children so please don’t judge. I can imagine people thinking I have ten little babies running around my house like the woman who lives in a shoe. I have three adult children and the fourth one is about to be 18 this year. I had my first child when I was 17. i’m 43 now. my youngest just turned 5.

    • Profile photo of Teresa Teresa says:

      I had my 1st on my 17th birthday, and my last when I was 42! I only have 3, they are 30, 22 and 5!
      Didn’t realize there were many others with them spread out like me! So many people I’ve met, think I’m crazy! LOL

  6. Profile photo of Kaeleen Kaeleen says:

    My mom gave birth 16 times and then died of brain cancer. An exception? Probably not.

  7. Profile photo of Sofia Sofia says:

    As much as I love my two babies, I couldn’t do 8 more. I’m happy for all the mothers who have! We just have to take care of ourselves, I know it’s a challenge but we can do as much as we can to prevent illnesses and health problems. I don’t think we need to all have 10 children for that, although they are an amazing blessing!

  8. Profile photo of steph steph says:

    I sm the proud mother of 10 healthy children. 5 boys 5 girls I am 45 and feel healthy and blessed I believe its all running arond after them that has kept me in shape. Wouldn’t have trade having that many for nothing!

  9. Profile photo of Nancy Nancy says:

    I think think that is nonsense and have no idea where do they come out with stuff like this? 😀

  10. Profile photo of Khalid Khalid says:

    I am 49 had my first child at 18 and have a total of 10 children,I have never heard that having children reduces the risk of cancer,I have never taken birth control .

  11. Profile photo of Patsy Patsy says:

    My guess would be that it is due to the absence of synthetic hormones in birth control – which is known to cause cancer. To give birth to 10 or more children – I’d assume it’s highly unlikely that there is any unnatural birth control involved with these ladies 🙂 (hope I didn’t repeat another comment, or even part of the study – I mostly just skimmed over it) 🙂

  12. Profile photo of annie annie says:

    I’d be curious if there was any control to prove that the reduced cancer may not be because of more pregnancies, but because the less-children women were more exposed to hormonal birth control.

  13. Profile photo of Andrea Andrea says:

    My Mom gave birth to twelve beautiful children, however, later in life, she developed thyroid cancer – and survived. Later it was a heart attack that killed her. Still, an interesting article. God bless all mothers who choose life for their unborn baby/babies.

    • Profile photo of Patsy Patsy says:

      Sorry for your loss! Yes, as I read it I thought of how it may(?) reduce the risk of cancer, but it also increases the risk of stroke and heart attack in women. My Gramma had 12 children and later suffered a major stroke. She was bed fast and unable to speak for her remaining years. But I seriously doubt she’d done anything differently – as she loved them all! 🙂

  14. Profile photo of Christina Christina says:

    I’m expecting baby #7 Nov. 1st. But I don’t think my husband could possibly be talked into 3 more

  15. Profile photo of Catey Catey says:

    I’m actually expecting my tenth baby (yes really) at the end of June! 🙂 Yay, good news for me! lol Although I too am curious as to how they found that many women for this study…I only know three people who have as many kids as I do!

  16. Profile photo of mommy nhoj mommy nhoj says:

    Interesting. Though I hardly see myself giving birth more than 3 times 🙂

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