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Pregnancy outcome at age 40 and older


Objective: Our purpose was to examine pregnancy outcomes among women age 40 or older. Methods: Between January, 1997 and December 1999, we performed a case-control study compared pregnancy outcomes of 468 patients delivered at our hospital at > Or = 40 years old with outcomes in a control group consisting of the next two deliveries of women with ages 20 to 29 years. Retrospective analysis of the antepartum and intrapartum records was done to compare clinical outcome. Results: Approximately 25,356 women delivered during the study period, and 468 (1.8%). Of these women were at age 40 or older. Of this latter group, 50 (10.7%) were nulliparous. Mean birthweight of infants delivered by older nulliparous women was significantly lower than that among nulliparous controls (3210 ± 5 vs. 3320 ± 1 g), whereas mean birth weight in the group of older multiparous was not different than that among younger multiparous controls (3370 ± 1 vs. 3365 ± 4 g). Gestational age at delivery was significantly lower among older nulliparous, and multiparous compared with nulliparous and multiparous younger controls. Older women were at increased risk for cesarean delivery (nulliparous 18%; multiparous 14%) compared with nulliparous and multiparous younger control groups (nulliparous 8%; multiparous 6%). In the study group, the operative vaginal delivery rate was higher than that of the control group. The study groups were more likely to develop gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and placenta praevia. Older nulliparous had an increased incidence of malpresentation, abnormal labour patterns, special care baby unit admission (SCBU), and low 1-minute Apgar score. Older multiparous were more likely to experience birth asphyxia, premature rupture of membranes, and antepartum vaginal bleeding. Conclusion: Nulliparous women age 40 or over have a higher risk of operative delivery than do youngr nulliparous women. This increase occurs in spite of lower birth weight and gestational age and may be explained by the increase incidence of obstetric complications. Although maternal morbidity was increased in the older women, the overall neonatal outcome did not appear to be affected.

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Received: 10 May 2000 / Accepted: 26 July 2000

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Ziadeh, S., Yahaya, A. Pregnancy outcome at age 40 and older. Arch Gynecol Obstet 265, 30–33 (2001).

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  • Keywords Maternal age 40 or older
  • Pregnancy outcomes