Advanced Maternal Age & the Risk of Birth Injuries
For a wide variety of reasons, many women are now having children at older ages than they had in the past. While many people prefer to wait to have children until they are more established in life before having kids and are more emotionally prepared for the challenges of parenthood, a big downside to having children later in life is that there can be a higher risk for factors that can make pregnancy and delivery more complicated. And, when complications arise, there’s the risk for birth trauma.
Commonly, the term “advanced maternal age” is used to refer to women who are at least 35 years old during their pregnancy, but studies suggest that the risk of complications can start increasing after the age of 29. So what are some of the risks that come with giving birth at an older age and how can they be linked to birth trauma?
Higher Risk of Twins
The odds that a woman will have a pregnancy of twins can be shaped by many different factors, including a family history, how many children they’ve had before, and if they’ve undergone fertility treatments. Women over the age of 35 also tend to have a higher chance of having pregnancies of multiple babies and twin pregnancies can come with a higher risk of birth trauma.
Maternal Health Conditions
Advanced maternal age has also been linked to a higher risk of maternal health conditions that can potentially lead to birth trauma. Preeclampsia, for example, is more common in women over 40 and one thing preeclampsia can lead to is restricted blood flow to the placenta, causing the child to not receive enough oxygen. When babies don’t receive enough oxygen, it can very easily lead to a wide range of health complications for the child.
Risk of Premature Birth
According to the March of Dimes, premature birth tends to be most common in women over the age of 40, representing 14.5% of all preterm births between 2016 and 2018. Given that the bodies of premature babies aren’t fully developed at the time of birth, they’re more susceptible to physical trauma and problems like brain bleeds. Jaundice is also more common in premature babies and if it’s not treated quickly, it can lead to kernicterus.
No matter how old you are when your child is born, it’s very important for doctors to take all appropriate precautions to make sure the baby is delivered safely. A very tragic fact is that in many cases, birth trauma didn’t have to happen — it’s often the result of medical malpractice. If your child sustained an injury around the time of birth, it could potentially have consequences that last for the rest of the child’s life and it’s important to make sure they have all the care they need.
Birth trauma cases can be very complex, so it’s important to have a birth trauma lawyer on your side who knows the law and can fight for you to get the compensation you need and deserve. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to get help from a Michigan-based lawyer who has experience helping people who have been in your shoes. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.
Image: iStock / Chalabala