Birth After 50 With No Increased Complications
February 20, 2019
The Jerusalem Post – New research by Ben-Gurion University and Soroka University Medical Center determines that it is possible to give birth after the age of 50 without endangering the mother or the baby.
The study examined the possible pregnancy complications for women over the age of 50 and whether mothers who have babies at this age put themselves or their fetuses at increased risk in comparison to younger mothers.
The researchers found that thanks to medical and technological advancements – including extracellular fertilization and egg donation – the age at which a woman can give birth has gradually increased.
Data from the Israel Health Ministry shows that in 2017 about 1,300 women ages 45 and over gave birth. This compares to 950 women four years earlier, according to an article published by the Hebrew website Ynet.
“There is no doubt that medical teams are going to see more and more births in women over the age of 50,” says Prof. Eyal Sheiner, M.D., from BGU’s Faculty of Health Sciences and lead researcher in this study.
During the study, the researchers examined the outcomes of pregnancy among 68 women ages 50 and older who gave birth in recent years. The study found that about half got pregnant through fertilization and some, surprisingly, got pregnant in a natural way. They compared the pregnancies and births of 558 women ages 45 to 50, to 7,321 women who gave birth between the ages of 40 and 44, to 240,000 women who gave birth under the age of 40.
The research specifically tried to see if these women were prone to complications like gestational diabetes, pregnancy hypertension, premature births, and Cesarean sections. They also examined if the newborn suffered from complications such as low epigraph scores indicating poor physical condition, distress during labor, and even mortality.
The researchers concluded that all complications (maternal and fetal) were higher among women who gave birth to children over the age of 40, compared with those who gave birth below that age. Surprisingly, however, there was no escalation of complications in women over the age of 50, compared with women who gave birth between the ages of 40 and 50.
“It turns out that the risk is not much higher as the woman gets older.”