Sure, being a mom or dad is stressful, but could it be better for you in the long run? In addition to the joys of being a parent, a recent study shows that parenting children can give you better blood pressure as well. Thanks, kids!
"Women were driving the effect," says co-author Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a psychologist at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. "Women with children had the lowest blood pressure, and women without had the highest" of those studied.
Holt-Lunstad, along with researchers from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and California State University Long Beach, kept track of the blood pressures of 198 adults ages 20 to 68. Participants wore portable monitors, which took readings three times an hour, multiple times a day, over a 24-hour period, including while they slept.
The researchers also considered other possible reasons for the great blood pressure scores in parents — age, body mass, gender, exercise, employment, and smoking can all influence a blood pressure score, and they wanted to be sure the results weren't biased. They even controlled for length of marriage and duration of marriage before children, and compared parents with kids under age 2 to parents with teens to parents with kids over 18. The results: they found no differences!
The study just goes to show that although times might get stressful when raising a family, there are little (and BIG, of course!) rewards along the way.