Risk of STI's

Pregnant women over 40 three times more likely to need c-section

An increasing number of women are having children in their late 30s and well into their 40s. However, older maternal age is linked with greater risks to mother and baby. A recent study conducted in Norway highlights the risks specific to labour complications.

Published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the study was conducted by researchers at the Norwegian Resource Centre for Women’s Health. The study examined 170,000 low-risk women who were having their first child and expected to have few complications during labour and childbirth. The researchers found that in this group, older women were more likely to require emergency caesarean sections, and other medical interventions such as epidurals, or the use of forceps or ventouse (suction cup) during labour. Women over 40 had a 22.4% emergency c-section rate, in comparison to 6.7% for women aged 20-24 and 8.4% for women aged 25-29. In the group of women over age 40, 24% required the assistance of instruments (forceps, suction cup, etc.) during labour, versus 13% of women aged 20-24 and 16.2% of women aged 25-29.

Epidural use, high birth weight, being overdue, and induction of labour were all linked with greater risk of requiring an emergency c-section, all factors were more prevalent with advanced age. According to Lina Herstad, co-author of the study:

“Our results show that the proportion of operative deliveries increased substantially with maternal age in a low-risk, first time mother cohort. These findings are particularly helpful for both healthcare professionals and women of advanced maternal age in decisions regarding the optimal mode of delivery. Further research is needed, taking into account other factors which may have an impact, such as rising obesity rates.”

Read more about the study here.

Tags:, , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>