Tuesday, May 13th, 2014
The number of American women who are having kids after age 35 continues to rise, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More from Time.com:
The average age of women at their first birth has also risen over the past 4 decades, and since 2000, 46 states and DC have experienced a rise in the first-birth rate for women over 35.
“We are definitely seeing this in our practices,” says Dr. Rebecca Starck, chair of the department of regional obstetrics and gynecology at Cleveland Clinic. Given what we know about the risks associated with pregnancy at later ages, should we be worried?
“A healthy 40 year old can have a much less risky pregnancy than a healthy 28 year old,” says Starck, especially if she prepares her body for pregnancy with healthy food and exercise. Once pregnant, eating well, gaining the right amount of weight and abstaining from harmful behaviors like smoking also make a big difference.
The new report also shows that first time older mothers are generally more educated and more likely to have more resources like higher incomes than women of the youngest reproductive ages.
But the over-35 set still tend to face more risks and complications. For instance, the risks of having a child with a genetic disorder rise after 40, says Starck. It’s still very likely the baby will be healthy and won’t have a chromosome problem, she adds, but the risk does go up proportionally with age.
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Image: Mother and baby, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, May 7th, 2014
American mothers are more likely to die during childbirth than they were twenty years ago, data released by the World Health Organization shows–but globally, maternal death rates have fallen by almost half in the same period of time. Reuters has more:
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The WHO tracks maternal mortality as one of the “Millennium Development Goals” that the United Nations set for 2015. Death rates have fallen by 45 percent globally since 1990, to an estimated 289,000 women in 2013.
Giving birth in the United States remains far safer than in most countries, with only 28 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2013. But that is 136 percent higher than the 1990 mortality rate, when only 12 mothers died for every 100,000 births, the data showed.
No other country recorded such a large percentage increase, although a few other rich countries also failed to keep maternal mortality in check. In Canada, deaths rose from 6 to 11 per 100,000 births between 1990 and 2013. Many European countries and Japan have mortality rates in single figures.
China has cut its rate by two-thirds since 1990, with 32 women dying for every 100,000 live births in 2013.
WHO experts said the increase in the U.S. mortality rate may be a statistical blip. Or it might be due to increased risks from obesity, diabetes and older women giving birth.
Marleen Temmerman, the director of reproductive health and research at WHO, said more analysis was needed.
Thursday, July 26th, 2012
Women who have children in their 30s or 40s may have a lower risk of endometrial cancer, which is cancer of the lining of the uterus, according to a new study. From MSNBC.com:
Women who give birth over age 40 were 44 percent less likely to have the cancer than women whose last birth occurred at or before age 25, the researchers found.
For women whose last birth occurred between ages 35 to 39, the risk decreased by 32 percent, and for women who last gave birth between ages 30 and 34, their risk decreased by 17 percent, compared to those who delivered their last baby by age 25.
The effect was seen even as the women aged, showing that the “protection persists for many years,” said author Wendy Setiawan, a professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.
Image: Mother and baby, via Shutterstock.
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