Mothers in their 40s at risk of preterm birth: study

TORONTO, Feb 2: Pregnant women at the age of 40 and above are at an increased risk of delivering preterm babies, a study warns.
Maternal age at pregnancy has been increasing worldwide and so has the risk for preterm birth. However, the association between maternal age and preterm birth remains a topic of ongoing research.
For the study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers from CHU Sainte-Justine in Canada analysed data from 32 hospitals, from 2008 to 2011.
They identified five different age groups among the 165,282 pregnancies included in the study, and compared them based on maternal characteristics, gestational and obstetric complications, and risk factors for prematurity.
Some of the known risk factors identified more commonly in older mothers (40 and over) included placental praevia, gestational diabetes, medical history, use of assisted reproduction technologies and occurrence of an invasive procedure.
Placenta praevia is when the placenta lies in the uterus and covers the cervical opening. The symptoms include vaginal bleeding in the second half of pregnancy.
On the other hand, nulliparity –  the condition in a woman of never having given birth – past drug use and smoking were more prevalent in younger mothers (30 and under).
The researchers found that advanced maternal age (40 or over) was associated with preterm birth.
Meanwhile, a maternal age of 30-34 years was associated with the lowest risk of prematurity. (AGENCIES)