A study reveals that reaching 40 marks a turning point in obstetrical risks
In Spain, the age at which women are mothers for the first time has gone from 25 years in 1975 to 31 in 2016. On that last date, practically 40% of registered births were in women over 35, and 9% above 40, and it is expected that in 2050 the age of first maternity will continue to increase and reach 33 years, on average.
It is a fact that worries the medical community, since many studies indicate that an advanced maternal age is associated with an increased risk of complications for the mother and the future baby, such as the development of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, placenta praevia, premature delivery , intrauterine growth retardation, and caesarean section, among others. But most studies do not take into account other added risk factors, as when the mother is a smoker or has hypertension. Moreover, many exclude women over 45 years of age because they still represent a small percentage, so that the risks for patients in this age group are potentially underestimated.
As a result of this situation, a team of professionals from Dexeus Mujer, led by Dr Marta Claramonte, a gynaecologist specialized in high-risk pregnancies, conducted a retrospective study to determine where the turning point in determining obstetric and perinatal risk could be, based on the clinical history of a sample of more than 25,000 patients, who gave birth between January 2007 and June 2017.
The results of the study have been published recently in the journal BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, and reveal that, regardless of other factors, advanced maternal age is a risk factor for obstetric complications and that being 40 or older increases the risk, especially in the case of gestational diabetes and placenta praevia, but not for preeclampsia.
Claramonte Nieto M., Meler Barrabes E., Garcia Martínez S., Gutiérrez Prat M., Serra Zantop B.
BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2019 Sep 23;19(1):342. doi: 10.1186 s12884 -019 -2415 -3.