Does Having Sons Shorten a Woman's Lifespan?

Having sons might cause women to have shorter lifespans in comparison with women who have daughters. A study of Finnish villagers from the 17th to mid-20th centuries found that for every son a woman gave birth to, her life expectancy was reduced by 7%. It is thought that perhaps boys are larger at birth and cause more strain on their mothers’ bodies. Another possible explanation is that breastfeeding boys might take more of a toll on women than breastfeeding girls. Some researchers believe that gender of children is not a factor so much as the number of children a woman has in her lifetime, as well as her age, her social and wealth status and her access to proper nutrition and healthcare.

More about the lifespan of mothers:

  • The Finnish women that were studied lived an average of 34 weeks less for every son they had.

  • Research has shown that having daughters might slightly increase a woman’s life expectancy.

  • Fathers do not tend to show any statistical difference in lifespan with regard to the genders of their children.

More Info:

Discussion Comments


Maybe it's the daughter in law that shortens her life?


My mum has had nine children: four boys, five girls and three miscarriages. Her first born was a boy and died the night before she delivered him. She had two more children and then had one of her lungs and one lobe of the other removed due to TB. She then went on to have six more children. I am the youngest at 44.

I believe it has more to do with attitude. My mother has not had an easy life. My eldest brother died 16 years ago. My father and brother fought physically nightly for over 20 years due to alcoholism.

My mom will be 82 next week and though she can no longer walk, due to falling down the stairs and breaking her back 10 years ago, she will always be the first to make light of a situation and have everyone laughing.


Maybe a son's general activity and risk taking efforts affect a mother's longevity due to stress levels.

Post your comments
Forgot password?