Study Examines Complication Rates For Pregnancies After Age 44

Link Women who become pregnant at age 45 or older have an elevated risk of several complications to their own health and that of their infants ...

The older women were more likely to have health conditions during their pregnancies, with 17% experiencing gestational diabetes ... Nine percent of the older group had high blood pressure while pregnant, compared with less than 3% of younger women. Older women had caesarean-section births at more than twice the overall rate and experienced placenta previa -- a condition in which the placenta blocks the birth canal -- at six times the overall rate.

Women who delivered at age 45 or older also had higher rates of early deliveries, more instances of fever and severe bleeding, longer hospital stays, and more trips to the intensive care unit when compared with younger mothers. In terms of the infants' health, 4% of newborns born to older women had metabolic problems, such as low blood sugar, compared with less than 2% of those born to younger women ...