PMID: 2950347Nov 1, 1986Paper

Older maternal age and pregnancy outcome: a review of the literature

Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey
J P Hansen


We are in the early phase of a period when the increased numbers of women born during the 1947 to 1965 baby boom are entering their later child-bearing years. They are also part of a generation of women who are increasingly delaying childbirth until their 30s. These two factors will likely increase the proportion of total births accounted for by this 35- to 49-year age group by 72 per cent, from 5.9 per cent in 1982 to 8.6 per cent by the turn of the century. There are important and specific risks related to pregnancies for older women as compared to younger women. It is likely that a woman's ability to conceive declines steadily to where it has been estimated that 34 to 46 per cent of women age 35 and older are unable to become pregnant. Hypertension, preeclampsia, and diabetes mellitus are not only more common but seem to carry an even greater risk for older women, resulting more frequently in fetal demise. Although there are conflicting findings, older women seem to have more babies weighing under 2,500 gm and more over 4,000 gm. It appears that there are more problems with abnormal labor patterns and a definite higher incidence of cesarean section. The literature seems to support the finding of high incidences of late pregn...Continue Reading


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