The musical Menopause Out Loud takes a humorous look at the subject.
Credits: File Photo
Researchers from four universities around the world analyzed birth and death rates from church registers in Finland from 1700 to 1900, before modern health care was born. They found grandmothers having babies later in life, and at the same time as their daughters-in-law, resulted in the newborns of each being 50% less likely to survive to adulthood.
They also found women had more grandkids if they stopped having children themselves around age 50. Researchers believe this could be because of less competition between older women and her daughters-in-law and also because of the support the older women could offer their grandkids.
"We are so used to the fact that all women will experience menopause, that we forget it is seriously bizarre," said co-author Andy Russell from the University of Exeter in the U.K.
"Evolutionary theory expects animals to reproduce throughout their lifespan, and this is exactly what happens in almost every animal known, including human men. So why are women so different? Our study shows for the first time that the answer could lie in the relationship between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law,"
The study was published in the journal Ecology Letters.