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Late Childbearing


Late marriages occur more frequently, and, consequently, the number of women having babies later is increasing. The World Health Organization defines late childbearing as giving birth at age 35 or older. Late childbearing is associated with increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, Down syndrome, and low birth-weight infant.

Gestosis and hypertensive diseases

According to most reports, late child-bearers are 2-4 times more likely to have high blood pressure than young pregnant women.

Diabetes and gestational diabetes

The incidence rate for tumors, alcoholism, and non-insulin-dependent diabetes, or type 2 diabetes, increases with age, as do disorders of the cardiovascular system, nervous system, kidney, connective tissue, and lungs. If thrombus, pulmonary edema, or chronic high blood pressure, exists the risk of heart failure also increases.

Cesarean sections

The frequency of cesarean sections for premature separation of the placenta and placenta previa increases in pregnant women 35 and older. Plus, an increase in hypertensive diseases, diabetes, and premature labor in this age bracket necessitates more cesarean sections.

Maternal mortality rate

The maternal mortality rate is 4 times higher for women between 35 and 39 than it is for women 20-24. This difference is more striking for minorities.
# In the late-pregnancy age group, the early miscarriage rate, attributable to natural miscarriage or chromosome abnormalities, increases. Also the perinatal morbidity rate and mortality rate for preterm delivery, fetal growth delay, and fetal death within the uterus increase.


Most investigations report that the risk of natural abortion increases with late childbearing. Pregnant women in their 40s have a natural miscarriage rate 2-4 times higher than that of pregnant women in their 20s.

Premature birth and fetal growth delay

There is a higher incidence in low birth-weight infants among late child-bearers because there is an increase in early delivery and fetal growth delay. The perinatal mortality rate increases for the same reason. Older pregnant women have an increased risk of giving birth to a large baby due to the prevalence of diabetes in this age group.

Congenital deformation

Down syndrome is the congenital deformation that is closely related to the women's age. It occurs most frequently in babies born to late child-bearers over 40. This is because the delay in fertilization causes the eggs to mature too much and non-disjunction takes place. With the exception of Down syndrome, there is no clear relationship between the age of pregnant women and rate of other chromosome abnormalities.

Age of pregnant woman

Frequency of occurrence of Down syndrome
< 25 years old 1/2,000
25 - 34 1/2,300
35 - 44 1/250
> 45 1/80
All ages 1/800

Benefits of late childbearing

Older pregnant women are mentally relaxed because they look forward to giving birth. Most have been married for a long time and are financially stable.



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