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Reassuring news for pregnant mothers age 40 and above

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) There are more risks associated with pregnancies in older women, but new research from Tel Aviv University offers some reassurance.

Risky pregnancies in older women are considerably lessened in a good birthing center, according to Professor Yariv Yogev of Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine and the Hospital for Women at Rabin Medical Center.

Most complications that arise in pregnant women over 40 are health risks like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. Most older women will deliver a healthy child, Yogev said, and, for the most part, these risks do not affect the newborn after three days have passed. Yogev and associates collected evidence on more than 200 births in older women, including 177 women over the age of 45 and 20 above the age of 50.

Yogev is quick to encourage not waiting past the age of 40 to have a child naturally, though the results of the study suggest that it is possible for would-be mothers at 45 or even 50 to still give birth to healthy babies. Risks associated with delayed pregnancy (over the age of 40) include a 300-percent greater chance of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure during pregnancy. Severe bleeding after birth and metabolic problems in newborns are also risks.

After age 50, the risks and complications in women become even more severe, though the babies in the study overcame risks in the short term.

"I'd been an attending physician in a delivery ward to a woman over 60 who had twins," said Yogev. "I wanted to know if it's ethical to treat older women like this -- I wanted to know if it's safe for both mother and child."

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 7, 2010
Last Updated:
December 7, 2010