A new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology reveals complications associated with pregnancy with a maternal age of 44 and over. The study involved about 80,000 women between the years of 2000 & 2008. In the study group, about 175 women gave birth to children with births occurring with a maternal age of 45 years and older. Many of these births resulted from the use of egg donors.

Older women in the study presented with more maternal complications than younger counterparts. About 17% of the older women were diagnosed with gestational diabetes but only 6% of younger women. Higher blood pressure was a problem for 9% of older women but only 3% of younger pregnant participants. The rate of C-section also doubled in the older population.

In addition to complications during pregnancy, older women presented with an increased rate of complications after birth. Birth complications included fever, excessive bleeding, extended stays in the hospital and more occurrences of intensive care. Infants born to older mothers even showed decreased health with metabolic problems reported in 4% of the newborns born to older mothers compared to 2% born to younger mothers.

Researchers believe the complications are associated with age as the body tends to react differently to pregnancy thus increasing the risk of underlying medical conditions.

Source: Yariv Yogev MD, Nir Melamed MD, Ron Bardin MD, Kinneret Tenenbaum-Gavish MD, Gadi Ben-Shitrit MD, Avi Ben-Haroush MD. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 21 October 2010.

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