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Study: Rise in Birth Defects Linked to Older Mothers


A new study published in the journal BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology finds that there has been an increase in birth defects due to a rise in older mothers.

The study looked at 5.4 million births across 14 Europeans countries over the span of 23 years, from 1984 to 2007. Researches found that while the overall rate of birth defects had doubled over this time period, defects were 27 percent higher in multiple births than in single births.

Being an older parent doesn't come without benefits, however. 

“Age brings with it emotional stability, psychological strength, and financial security,” says Pasquale Patrizio, M.D., a professor with the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale School of Medicine recently told Parenting.

But he did concede medical concerns. “Pregnancy-induced hypertension, preterm delivery, and gestational diabetes all increase as women deliver children at over 45 years of age.”

Plus: Pregnancy at Any Age

And now, added to that list is increased risk of defects.

"The increase in multiple birth rates may be explained by changes in maternal age and increased use of assisted reproductive technology,” said Professor Helen Dolk, the co-author of the study. She added that more research was needed to determine how assisted reproductive technology contributed to birth defects.

Did you keep age in mind when planning your family? Leave a comment and let us know.