Baby over age 45 years invite complications
A study of older new mothers in Israel finds that 8 in 10 experienced health problems during their pregnancies, and nearly half of their babies were smaller than average.
First-time births over age 45 have increased over the last decade, especially with the use of assisted reproduction technologies which make first-time motherhood possible later and later in life. The health risks for older mothers are well established.
To study how if child birth over 45 years of age pose complications for mothers and babies, researchers gathered data on 131 mothers ranging in age from 45 to 65 years, who gave birth at the same hospital in Israel between 2004 and 2008. All of the women in this study had experienced fertility problems and more than half had been pregnant before. All but five of the 131 women underwent in vitro fertilization (IVF), in which a fertilized egg is implanted into the mother's uterus. Nearly a third of the women had a chronic disease like high blood pressure or diabetes before they got pregnant.
Four of every 10 women developed pregnancy-related diabetes, and two of 10 had preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous condition that includes high blood pressure and protein in the mother's urine. One third of the babies were born prematurely, and nearly all were delivered by a cesarean section. In the study, the risk of having a baby born early or underweight was higher for women over age 50, than for women in their late 40s. Two out of every three babies born to the mothers aged 50 to 65 weighed less than 2,500 grams (about 5 and a half pounds), and half were born prematurely. That compared to one out of three babies born either underweight, or prematurely, or both to mothers 45 to 49.
This study shows that pregnancy after the age of 45 years is in fact a risky proposition, and this provides a basis upon which women of this age group can be counseled. The way to mitigate those risks is to consider alternative procedures.
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