– EN Fitness & Wellbeing – With many women now waiting to start a family until after they’ve established a career and reached financial security, the age of becoming a mum is slowly rising.
But new research has concluded that despite being told otherwise, having a baby at 50 is as safe as giving birth 10 years earlier.
While it can be harder to conceive the older you get because of the quality and quantity of a woman’s eggs starts to decline in her mid-30s, researchers from Israel’s Soroka University Medical Center found that there is no drastic difference in the risk of childbirth when a woman is 40 or 50.
“It turns out that 50 is the new 40 when it comes to childbirth,” lead author Dr Eyal Sheiner said. “There is no doubt that medical teams will need to handle increasing numbers of birth for women over age 50.”
With the advancement of egg freezing and fertility treatments, families that have chosen to wait to start a family are now able to do so – and with this new study, will have the peace of mind they are not harming their future babies.
For the small scale study, 242,771 births were analysed. Of these, 96.7 per cent of the mothers were under 40. Three per cent were 40-44 years old, 0.2 per cent 45-50 years old, and 0.03 percent over 50. Despite the relatively low numbers looked at, the team say their results hold up.
While the risk of mothers having health issues after the age of 40 doubles, adding another 10 years made little difference to the initial jump in risk.
Hypertensive disorders and gestational diabetes rates in new mothers over 50 were either the same or less than women a decade younger, and C-section and premature birth rates were also slightly less in the women over 50 compared to those aged 40-45.
However, the study also found perinatal mortality was more common in over-50s and the child’s overall health score was lowest in the oldest bracket.