Advanced maternal age and obstetric morbidity for women giving birth in Victoria, Australia: A population-based study

Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2012 Jun;52(3):229-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1479-828X.2012.01427.x. Epub 2012 Apr 13.


Background: As the proportions of older women giving birth increase, there is a growing body of evidence on the increased risks of poorer maternal and perinatal outcomes for this group. However, the associations are not completely understood. This study aimed to establish the prevalence of selected maternal morbidities and examine whether advanced maternal age is associated with a higher risk of morbidity for women giving birth in Victoria.

Method: Data on all births over 20 weeks‧ gestation for 2005 and 2006 were obtained from the Victorian Perinatal Data Collection. Unadjusted and adjusted analyses were undertaken using logistic regression to examine and quantify the association between advanced maternal age (35 years and older) and selected obstetric morbidities and complications.

Results: There was evidence of an association between older maternal age and selected morbidities and complications. Older nulliparous women were at highest odds of gestational diabetes (AdjOR, 1.83; 95% CI, 1.67-2.02), placenta praevia (AdjOR, 2.02; 95% CI, 1.68-2.44), multiple birth (AdjOR, 1.80; 95% CI, 1.58-2.06) and caesarean delivery (AdjOR, 1.93; 95% CI, 1.84-2.02). Older multiparous women were at highest odds of gestational diabetes (AdjOR, 2.01; 95% CI, 1.88-2.15) and placenta praevia (AdjOR, 2.11; 95% CI, 1.83-2.44).

Conclusions: Older women giving birth in Victoria are at an increased risk of a range of obstetric morbidities. Delayed childbearing for an increasing number of women has societal and public health ramifications and will potentially place greater demand on healthcare services.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data
  • Diabetes, Gestational / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Maternal Age*
  • Multiple Birth Offspring / statistics & numerical data
  • Placenta Previa / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Outcome / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Victoria / epidemiology