Advanced maternal age and the impact on maternal and offspring cardiovascular health

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2019 Aug 1;317(2):H387-H394. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00045.2019. Epub 2019 Jun 14.


Delaying pregnancy, which is on the rise, may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in both women and their children. The physiological mechanisms that lead to these effects are not fully understood but may involve inadequate adaptations of the maternal cardiovascular system to pregnancy. Indeed, there is abundant evidence in the literature that a fetus developing in a suboptimal in utero environment (such as in pregnancies complicated by fetal growth restriction, preterm birth, and/or preeclampsia) is at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in adulthood, the developmental origins of health and disease theory. Although women of advanced age are at a significantly increased risk of pregnancy complications, there is limited information as to whether advanced maternal age constitutes an added stressor on the prenatal environment of the fetus, and whether or not this is secondary to impaired cardiovascular function during pregnancy. This review summarizes the current literature available on the impact of advanced maternal age on cardiovascular adaptations to pregnancy and the role of maternal age on long-term health risks for both the mother and offspring.

Keywords: advanced maternal age; animal models; cardiovascular; developmental origins of health and disease; pregnancy complications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular System / growth & development
  • Cardiovascular System / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Hemodynamics*
  • Humans
  • Maternal Age*
  • Maternal Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Placenta / blood supply*
  • Placental Circulation
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / etiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / physiopathology
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors