A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology revealed complications associated with pregnancy with a maternal age of 44 and over. The study involved about 80,000 women in which about 175 women aged 45 and over gave birth, many of these births resulted from the use of egg donors.
These older women had a higher incidence of maternal complications than younger counterparts. About 17% of the older women were diagnosed with gestational diabetes as compared to only 6% of younger women. Higher blood pressure was a problem for 9% of older women but only 3% of younger pregnant participants. The rate of C-section also doubled in the older population.
In addition to complications during pregnancy, older women presented with an increased rate of complications after birth including fever, excessive bleeding, extended stays in the hospital and more occurrences of intensive care. Infants born to older mothers even showed decreased health with metabolic problems reported in 4% of the newborns born to older mothers compared to 2% born to younger mothers.
A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) reported that women who became pregnant with infertility treatment (e.g. ovulation induction, intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization with or without intracytoplasmic sperm injection) showed an increased risk of maternal morbidity or maternal death (30.8 per 1,000 in infertility treatment women versus 22.2 per 1,000 in women who became pregnant unassisted).
According to this publication:
“Severe maternal morbidity refers to a broad set of conditions that identify women who experience a near-fatal event during, or within 42 days of a pregnancy. The association between assisted reproductive technologies and severe maternal morbidity has been investigated recently in 3 studies in the United States, each reporting an approximate doubling of the risk of severe maternal morbidity among women with pregnancies conceived through assisted reproductive technologies compared to those with pregnancies conceived without.”
Wang ET, Ozimek J, Greene N, et al. Impact of fertility treatment on severe maternal morbidity. Fertil Steril 2016;106:423–6.Google Scholar
Belanoff C, Declercq ER, Diop H, et al. Severe maternal morbidity and the use of assisted reproductive technology in Massachusetts. Obstet Gynecol 2016; 127:527–34.Google Scholar
Vandenbroucke JP, von Elm E, Altman D, et al. Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE): explanation and elaboration. Epidemiology 2007;18:805–35.CrossRefPubMed. Google Scholar
Are you at your optimal weight? Both extremes, underweight or overweight, can impair your health and fertility and may have an adverse effect on your pregnancy. Having a healthy body weight helps maximize fertility success rates. Weight fluctuations either 20% above or below a woman’s target range can disrupt estrogen levels which regulate ovulation. To figure out if you are at your optimal weight calculate your body mass index (BMI).
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It is suggested that women who have the potential of getting pregnant take a supplement of 400-800 mcg of folic acid a day to prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord, called neural tube defects (NTDs). Studies also suggest that folic acid may help prevent some other birth defects as well, it may also prevent autism spectrum disorder, and prevent cleft lip and palate. Folic acid intake is important during pregnancy.
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