While the vast majority of us might claim that the wonder of motherhood has added a wrinkle or two, or contributed to a certain hair colour, it looks like we may stand corrected if recent research is anything to go by!
According to a study carried out between the years 2000 and 2013, researchers established that the more children a woman bears, the slower the rate of ageing she experiences.
Scientists have established that women who have more children tend to have longer telomeres- a compound structure which protect chromosomes and genetic information from damage - than those who had fewer children.
Investigating further, scientists came to the conclusion that the rise in oestrogen which take place during pregnancy also protects cells against teleomere shortening thereby preventing damage.
As damaged chromosomes lead to cell ageing and less efficient function, the research therefore indicates that women with a larger brood will not age as quickly as their counterparts who have less.
With the help of 75 participants from Guatemala over a 13-year period, researchers measured telomere length via saliva samples and ascertained that for each child a woman bears, she experience an increase of 0.059 telemore units.
Commenting on the findings which are sure to delight many mothers around the world, Prof. Pablo Nepomnaschy of Simon Fraser University in Canada said: "Our analyses show that increased offspring number across 13 years of observation attenuated telomere shortening, suggesting that, in our study population, having more children may slow the pace of cellular ageing."
The study has been published in the PLOS One journal.