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Effects of advanced maternal age on pregnancy

Ruth C Fretts, MD, MPH
Section Editor
Louise Wilkins-Haug, MD, PhD
Deputy Editor
Kristen Eckler, MD, FACOG


There is no universal definition of advanced reproductive age in women, in part because the effects of increasing age occur as a continuum, rather than as a threshold effect. Fertility clearly declines with advancing age, especially after the mid-30s, and women who conceive are at greater risk of pregnancy complications [1-4]. However, studies have generally observed that most women over 45 years of age [5-10] or over 50 years of age [1-3,11] have good pregnancy outcomes and are able to cope with the physical and emotional stresses of pregnancy and parenting [11].

The effects of a woman's age on pregnancy will be reviewed here. Reproductive concerns related to management of pregnancy and fertility in older women and advanced paternal age are discussed separately.

(See "Management of pregnancy in women of advanced age".)

(See "Evaluation and management of infertility in women of advancing age".)

(See "Effect of advanced paternal age on fertility and pregnancy".)

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Literature review current through: Sep 2017. | This topic last updated: Aug 21, 2017.
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