Neonatal intensive care utilisation by infants born to mothers older than 40 years of age: a 10-year review

N Z Med J. 2007;120(1267):U2859.


Background: Increased maternal age is associated with increased rates of maternal hypertension, diabetes, growth restriction, and Caesarean section in pregnancy. However, there are few data on outcome and utilisation of neonatal resources by this group of infants.

Aim: The primary aim was to determine how many infants born to women 40 years old or over were admitted for neonatal care at National Women's Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand during the period 1995-2004 inclusive. Secondary aims were to evaluate trends in admission, neonatal mortality, morbidity, and service utilisation.

Method: Infants admitted for neonatal care and eligible for registration with the Australian New Zealand Neonatal Network were identified from the National Women's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) database, trends were evaluated and resource utilisation estimated.

Results: For the study period, 203 infants were admitted following birth to women over 40 years. The median gestation was 33 weeks. Admissions increased to a peak in 2001-2002. A similar increase was seen in the total days in NICU and the percentage of total respiratory support used. Changes in referral practice from 2004 may have affected the infant numbers thereafter.

Conclusion: Infants born to mothers over the age of 40 currently represent about 3% of total births but 5% of the infants requiring neonatal intensive care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Delivery, Obstetric / trends*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal / statistics & numerical data*
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal / trends
  • Maternal Age
  • New Zealand
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Retrospective Studies