If you’re well into your 40s and looking to have your first baby, researchers say, you need to take precautions.
Take note, first-time moms-to-be. Although it is absolutely doable, a new study shows that women over 45 expecting a baby for the first time have a greater risk of suffering pregnancy complications. Are you among the growing number of women looking to start a family at an older age?
Researchers in Israel studied 131 mothers ranging in age from 45 to 65 who gave birth at the same hospital between 2004 and 2008. As many as 10 women who were pregnant for the first time at the age of 45 or older experienced health problems — and nearly half the babies they delivered were smaller than average, Reuters Health reports. (In Israel, the number of women who have given birth at 45 or older has tripled in the last 10 years.)
“This study shows that pregnancy after the age of 45 is in fact a risky proposition, and this provides a basis upon which women of this age group can be counseled about those risks,” Dr. Richard Paulson, director of the in vitro fertilization program at the University of Southern California who was not involved in the study, tells Reuters.
One-third of the babies were born prematurely and nearly all were delivered by cesarean section. Pregnancy-related diabetes affected four out of every 10 women and two out of 10 experienced preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous condition that includes high blood-pressure and protein in the mother’s urine.
In the U.S., the number of first-time babies born to older women still makes up a small percentage of delivieries. In 2010, there were 2,028 — with 165 of those babies born to new moms aged 50 and older, according to Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
All the women involved in the pregnancy study had fertility problems and more than half had been expecting a child before.
All but five of the 131 women underwent in-vitro fertilization.
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