The age at which a woman becomes pregnant does not increase pregnancy-related risks, according to a new study.
- Age does not increase the risk of pregnancy-related complications.
- Women are having children later and later.
- Health before getting pregnant would be more important than age.
In 2015, the average age of first child was 28.5, 4.5 years later than in 1974, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE). But it is not because the age of pregnancies increases that they are more at risk, according to a study which will be presented during the annual congress of theAmerican College of Cardiology.
Age does not increase pregnancy risk
“Mothers are older when they give birth, but that is not why there is [plus de risques] at birthexplains Zachary Hughes, lead author of the research, in a communicated. [Ce qui augmente les risques], these are pre-pregnancy health problems such as diabetes and hypertension. It is important to know this, because these are risk factors that we could potentially modify.”
To arrive at their results, the researchers analyzed data from 3.9 million births in 2011 and 3.7 million births in 2019. They thus compared the rates of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia (complication occurring during of the last trimester of pregnancy and which is manifested by various symptoms such as high blood pressure), premature labor and low birth weight.
Better monitor the health of women before they become pregnant
The researchers found a moderate increase in premature births and low birth weight (approximately 2% and 4% respectively), but this was much greater for hypertensive disorders (52%). To analyze the role of age, the researchers used statistical methods and found that it was not involved.
“I hope these findings will lead to a culture shift to better focus on pre-pregnancy health, explains Zachary Hughes. Many women do not consult a doctor before becoming pregnant, but [en suivant leur santé] six months or a year before planning their pregnancy, they will have better health and will minimize the risks of an adverse pregnancy outcome. Clinicians and policy makers also need to focus more on pre-pregnancy health and managing certain conditions like hypertension and diabetes before a person becomes pregnant.”
Scientists say more research is needed to determine the specific health issues that are linked to pregnancy complications.