(DUBLIN) — New research published in obstetrics and gynecology journal BJOG carries words of caution for the youngest and the oldest expectant moms.
Researchers at the University of Dublin studied almost 40,000 births among first-time mothers and found that babies born to teenagers have a higher risk of premature birth; babies born to women in their 40s have the highest risk of Cesarean sections and birth defects.
Additionally, the researchers found that Cesarean section delivery rates went up with age. About one in 10 first-time moms under age 18 delivered by Cesarean. But 54.4 percent of first-time mothers age 40 and older had C-sections.
The method of delivery had no effect on birth outcomes in first-time moms in their 20s and 30s, who make up about 75 percent of first-time births, despite the Cesarean rate being twice as high in older mothers. The study’s authors say this suggests C-sections could be much reduced in that group without risking the mothers’ health or that of their babies.
Today, one in three U.S. babies is delivered by Cesarean section, up 53 percent over the last 15 years. But the study authors say efforts to encourage more vaginal deliveries for women in their 20s and 30s could impact the figures dramatically.
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