The Grapevine

Pregnancy Over Age 50 Still Safe? New Research Says Yes

Age 50 is the new 40. This is the conclusion of a new study that shows that it is still safe to give birth for older adults ages 50 and beyond, thanks to latest medical and technological advancements. 

The findings come from the analysis of childbirth complications in 242,771 deliveries. Researchers said 96.7 percent of the deliveries covered women younger than 40, while the rest were at age 40 and older, ScienceDaily reported Thursday.

The team analyzed the number of women and babies that experienced complications, such as premature births, gestational diabetes, hypertension and they also noted the number who had cesarean sections. They also looked at the pregnancy risks among women over the age of 50.  

The team from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Soroka University Medical Center in Israel found all women who gave birth at the age of 50 or older did not suffer any complications or even had increased risks. 

However, the findings surprised researchers as younger adults had higher chances to experience problems during and after pregnancy compared to the older group. All complications were found among women who gave birth to children in their 40s.

"It turns out that 50 is the new 40 when it comes to childbirth," Eyal Sheiner, director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Soroka and vice dean for student affairs at BGU's Faculty of Health Sciences, said. "There is no doubt that medical teams will need to handle increasing numbers of birth for women over age 50." The researchers said the use of new medications and technologies, such as extracellular fertilization and egg donation, contributed to the healthy pregnancy of women at age 50. They highlighted these advancements increased the age at which a woman can give birth safely. 

Meanwhile, Sheiner noted experts should still look at both the 40 and 50 age groups as high risk pregnancies due to complications related to age. She suggested monitoring fasting glucose and blood pressure for early detection of health problems. 

Sheiner presented the findings at the Society for Maternal and Fetal Medicine’s recent Annual Pregnancy Meeting in Las Vegas.

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