Fifty is the new 40 when it comes to advanced maternal age. At least, that’s what recent research from Ben-Gurion University (BGU) and Soroka University Medical Center may have found.

Women over 40 are having babies in greater numbers than ever before. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the birth rate for women 40 to 44 has risen since 1982. Jut look at recent celeb pregnancies and it’s clear that pregnancy isn’t just for 20-somethings. Actress Brigitte Nielsen had her fifth child at age 54, Rachel Weisz got pregnant at 48 and Janet Jackson had her first child at 50.

photo: Suhyeon Choi via Unsplash

Even though the data shows an upwards trend of women waiting to get pregnant, that doesn’t mean there aren’t risks associated with being of “advanced maternal age.”

When researchers looked at data from 242,711 deliveries at Soroka University Medical Center, they found something that most of us probably didn’t expect. While over 96 percent of the pregnancies in the study were in the under-40 set, complications between the 40- and 50-something mamas were fairly equal. That doesn’t mean the complication numbers were on par with their younger counterparts. Instead, the number of complications didn’t rise from 40-plus to 50-plus.

So what does this mean for you? If you’re nearing 50, it’s possible that you won’t experience an increased risk for complications in comparison to a woman who is 40. But there’s still risks associated with conceiving over ager 40. The researchers note that every pregnant woman over age 40 is high-risk and needs preventative medical treatment that comes along with it, from earlier blood glucose testing to blood pressure monitoring.

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—Erica Loop

 

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