Maternal and perinatal outcome in nulliparous women aged 35 and older

Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2002;54(1):6-10. doi: 10.1159/000064689.


Objective: To compare the maternal and perinatal outcome of nulliparous women 35 years and older at the time of delivery with nulliparous women 25-29 years old.

Methods: A retrospective review of maternal and newborn records of singleton gestations only for first birth in women aged 35 and older (study group n = 143) were compared with pregnancies of women aged 25-29 (control group, n = 148) delivered at the same period with respect to pregnancy complications and outcome. The study was performed at the Princess Badeea Teaching Hospital in North Jordan between January 1, 1996 and July 1, 2000.

Results: Most of the elderly nulliparous women were professionals (60%) and 20% had a history of infertility. Compared with women aged 20-29 years, women delivering their first child at or >35 years were at increased risk of weight gain, obesity, chronic and pregnancy-induced hypertension, antepartum haemorrhage, multiple gestation, malpresentation, and premature rupture of membranes. Women aged 35 years and older were also substantially more likely to have preterm labour, oxytocin use, and caesarean births. The older women differed significantly in neonatal outcomes: gestational age, birth weight, preterm delivery, low birth weight, small for gestational age, fetal distress and neonatal intensive care unit admissions.

Conclusion: It is concluded that nulliparous women 35 years and older had higher risk of antepartum, intrapartum, and neonatal complications than nulliparous women aged 25-29 years, but these risks, for the most part, are manageable in the context of modern obstetrics. The excess rate of caesarean sections is only partially accounted for by gestational complications. Despite the increased risk of complications, perinatal death of the study group was similar to that of the control group. There were no maternal deaths.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Birth Weight
  • Cesarean Section
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Age*
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / etiology
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnancy, High-Risk*
  • Retrospective Studies