New limits for older mothers

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DOCTORS should induce older mums by 40 weeks or risk stillbirths, findings from the country's biggest study into perinatal deaths has revealed.

... the current policy of inducing labour at 41 weeks for all pregnant women needs to be reviewed for mothers aged 40 or older.

... pregnant women aged 40 or older faced much higher risk of stillbirths once they reached their due date compared to younger mothers.

... the general policy in hospitals was to induce birth at 41 weeks, with the risk of stillbirth 2.2 times higher for all mothers past their due dates. But the prognosis was more dire for older mothers, with the risk sharply rising from 38 weeks.

... One of the key findings was that babies who died in stillbirth tended to move less in the final trimester, despite the widely held belief that babies slowed their movements towards the end of pregnancy.

"People often get told that the baby slows down," ... "We found that ... for people who have a healthy pregnancy outcome - it seems to be much more common that for the last few weeks prior to the interview, the baby movements become stronger."

... viral infections were not as significant as previously thought because they appeared to be just as common in healthy births.

Urinary tract infections were more common in the mothers who lost a baby ...