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How Maternal Age Affects Premature Birth

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In recent years, more and more women are giving birth at later stages of life. The medical community has also recognized an increase in premature (or preterm) birth on an international scale. The question posed by a group of researchers recently was: what is the relationship between advanced maternal age and prematurity? The following is a deep-dive into what one study found about the potential association between preterm labor and mothers at advanced maternal age when giving birth. For additional information about prematurity and related complications, contact our New Jersey birth injury lawyers directly at 866-708-8617. We provide consultations free of charge.

Maternal Age and Pregnancy Complications

As advanced maternal age becomes increasingly common, the medical community has identified multiple pregnancy-related complications that occur more frequently in older pregnant women, including:

  • Placenta previa
  • Intra-uterine growth restriction
  • Fetal death
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia (hypertension during pregnancy); and
  • Caesarean delivery

The affect of advanced maternal age on premature birth remains a subject of debate.

Preterm Birth in Older Pregnant Women

First and foremost, it is important to define “preterm.” Generally, babies born prior to 37 weeks of gestation are considered “preterm” or “premature.” Approximately one in every 10 babies born in the United States meets the criteria for prematurity. Prematurity is the among the most significant predictors of birth injuries and neonatal death.

The aforementioned study, a large-scale randomized controlled trial published in the journal PLOS ONE, sought to examine the affect of maternal age on the instance of preterm birth. Researchers evaluated 165,282 births in a total of 32 hospitals, with mothers over the age of 20. They broke down maternal age into five categories, comparing risk factors for prematurity, maternal characteristics, and gestational and obstetric complications among various age groups.

Ultimately, the study results showed an association between advanced maternal age (40 years and over) and preterm birth. They identified several other important factors that contributed to prematurity, including gestational diabetes, placenta previa, maternal hypertension, and assisted delivery techniques. Even after controlling for these other variables, researchers found an association between premature birth and pregnancy at age 40 or older. Interestingly, mothers between the ages of 30 and 34-years-old had the lowest risk of premature delivery.

Was Your Child Injured during Premature Birth in New Jersey?

Babies born premature may experience a host of injuries and complications, including developmental delays, Cerebral Palsy, blindness, deafness, or even death. To prevent these catastrophic events, doctors must take extreme care when dealing with preterm labor and delivery. Similarly, advanced maternal age is associated with a number of serious birth injuries that may affect the baby or the mother. With this in mind, the medical community has issued guidelines for healthcare providers when caring for older mothers during pregnancy and childbirth. Your doctor is responsible for following all of these guidelines, as well identifying risk factors for preterm birth. They must develop a plan to best manage labor and delivery and respond immediately if an emergency arises. Failure to do so may be considered medical malpractice.

If your baby suffered an injury during premature birth in New Jersey, it is is important to understand all of your rights and legal options. Our experienced birth injury lawyers can explain the process of filing a lawsuit and help you identify if medical negligence may have contributed to your child’s condition. Our legal team is thoroughly equipped to help you develop a plan of action when seeking justice for birth malpractice. Contact us online or call (866)-708-8617 for a free case evaluation.

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