Mother's age at delivery and daughters' risk of preeclampsia

Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2019 Mar;33(2):129-136. doi: 10.1111/ppe.12532. Epub 2019 Jan 20.


Background: Some cardiovascular disease risk factors are associated with both risk of preeclampsia and having been born to a younger or older mother. We examined whether mother's age at delivery predicts a primiparous daughter's risk of preeclampsia.

Methods: The analysis included 39 803 Sister Study participants (designated as "daughters") born between 1930 and 1974. Using log-binomial regression, we estimated relative risks (RR) of preeclampsia in the first pregnancy ending in birth ("primiparous preeclampsia") associated with mother's age at the daughter's birth. Models included: number of older full and maternal half-siblings, income level growing up, daughter's age at delivery, race/ethnicity, and 5-year birth cohort. We examined self-reported relative weight at age 10 (heavier than peers versus not) as a potential effect measure modifier.

Results: Overall, 6.2% of daughters reported preeclampsia. Compared with those who had been born to 20-24-year old mothers, daughters of teenage mothers had a relative risk of 1.20 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01, 1.43) and daughters of mothers ≥25 had a ~10% lower risk. Relative weight at age 10 modified the association, with an inverse association between mother's age at delivery and preeclampsia seen only among daughters with low/normal childhood relative weight. In this subset, results were consistent across strata of daughter's age at menarche and age at first birth.

Conclusions: These findings, based on self-reported data, require replication. Nevertheless, as women increasingly delay childbearing, they provide some reassurance that having been born to an older mother is not, per se, a risk factor for primiparous preeclampsia.

Keywords: delayed childbirth; maternal age; parental age; preeclampsia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Maternal Age*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nuclear Family*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk
  • Siblings