The largest study of its kind has examined the impact of advanced maternal age of the health of babies and mothers. The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) report looked at more than one million births in Canada between 2006 and 2009, and found that more than half of first time mothers age 35 and over developed complications.
More than half of first time mothers age 40 and over delivered by caesarian section compared to 25% of women aged 20 to 34. One in eight mothers age 40 and over developed gestational diabetes, a condition which can lead to serious complications. This is in comparison to one in 24 women between 20 and 34 years of age, and one in 12 women aged between 35 and 39 who diagnosed with it. And rates of placenta previa, another condition that can lead to serious complications were several times more common in women in their 40’s than in women in their 20’s or 30’s.
As the rate of new mothers in their 40’s increases, the need for information and better screening also increases, and it is important for first time mothers of all ages, but particularly mature moms, to be seen soon after conception, and followed closely be health care providers throughout their pregnancy.
Source: The Canadian Institute for Health Information, Sept. 15, 2011