The Association Between Maternal Age and Cerebral Palsy Risk Factors

Pediatr Neurol. 2018 May:82:25-28. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2018.01.005. Epub 2018 Feb 12.


Background: Advanced maternal age is associated with higher frequencies of antenatal and perinatal conditions, as well as a higher risk of cerebral palsy in offspring. We explore the association between maternal age and specific cerebral palsy risk factors.

Methods: Data were extracted from the Canadian Cerebral Palsy Registry. Maternal age was categorized as ≥35 years of age and less than 20 years of age at the time of birth. Chi-square and multivariate logistic regressions were performed to calculate odds ratios and their 95% confidence intervals.

Results: The final sample consisted of 1391 children with cerebral palsy, with 19% of children having mothers aged 35 or older and 4% of children having mothers below the age of 20. Univariate analyses showed that mothers aged 35 or older were more likely to have gestational diabetes (odds ratio 1.9, 95% confidence interval 1.3 to 2.8), to have a history of miscarriage (odds ratio 1.8, 95% confidence interval 1.3 to 2.4), to have undergone fertility treatments (odds ratio 2.4, 95% confidence interval 1.5 to 3.9), and to have delivered by Caesarean section (odds ratio 1.6, 95% confidence interval 1.2 to 2.2). These findings were supported by multivariate analyses. Children with mothers below the age of 20 were more likely to have a congenital malformation (odds ratio 2.4, 95% confidence interval 1.4 to 4.2), which is also supported by multivariate analysis.

Conclusions: The risk factor profiles of children with cerebral palsy vary by maternal age. Future studies are warranted to further our understanding of the compound causal pathways leading to cerebral palsy and the observed greater prevalence of cerebral palsy with increasing maternal age.

Keywords: Antenatal; Cerebral palsy; Maternal age; Perinatal; Risk factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebral Palsy / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal Age
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult