Jerusalem: It is as safe to give birth at the age of 50 as at 40 and it would not endanger the mother or the baby, suggest Israeli researchers.
The study, led by a team from Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Soroka University Medical Centre, found that owing to medical and technological advancements – including extracellular fertilisation and egg donation – the age at which a woman can give birth has gradually increased.
“It turns out that 50 is the new 40 when it comes to childbirth,” according to Eyal Sheiner, Director at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Soroka.
“There is no doubt that medical teams will need to handle increasing numbers of birth for women over the age of 50,” Sheiner added.
Complications, such as premature births, gestational diabetes, hypertension and cesarean sections, were found higher among women over 40 who gave birth to children compared to those who gave birth below that age.
However, there was no escalation of these complications in women over the age of 50, compared to women who gave birth between the age of 40 and 50, according to the study presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) 39th Annual Meeting on Pregnancy.
But Sheiner still advised to treat the pregnancies of women over the age of 40 as high-risk ones, even more so in case of pregnancies of women over the age of 50.
Special emphasis should be placed on tracking fasting glucose and pregnant blood pressure for early detection of complications, he said.
The study included 242,771 deliveries at Soroka, of which 234,824 (96.7 per cent) occurred in women younger than 40 years and the rest occurred in women between the age group of 40 and 50 and older.
Besides pregnancy complications, the team also examined if the newborn suffered from poor physical condition, mortality or distress during labour.