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Why having more than three kids could shorten your life

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Women who have given birth more than three times are at increased risk of heart failure according to a new study.

Research released by the Baker Institute and Alfred Health found there was a link between multiple pregnancies and stiffness in the heart, a disease that has only been discovered in the last decade.

Lead researcher Dr Anna Beale told Ross and John women who fall into this category need to be “extra careful”.

“(They) are at increased risk for the type of heart failure we term as ‘stiff heart syndrome’,” she said.

The repeated strain put on the heart during multiple pregnancies is thought to increase the risk.

“Pregnancy affects the heart because the amount of blood required to flow through the heart during pregnancy increases by about 50 per cent.

“And therefore with repeated adaption to this it probably causes some damage and scarring to the heart.”

Dr Beale said while three was the “magic number” that came out in the study the research is still in its early stages.

“We would like to do bigger studies to confirm this and see if there really is a close dose-response relationship.”

Head of cardiology at the Alfred and senior investigator on the research Professor David Kay told Neil Mitchell it was something for women who have three kids not to worry but be aware of.

“I think you talk to your GP and you look at the other factors in your life you can modify,” he said.

“We’re talking about blood pressure, obesity, diabetes … And of course smoking.

“It’s just a queue to address all those factors and do everything you can do to pursue a a healthy life.”

Click PLAY to hear the interview below