What is the ideal age to give birth? A study conducted at Semmelweis University in Budapest indicates that between the ages of 23 and 32 is the ideal period, with the lowest risk of certain birth defects. Learn more about the findings published in the BJOG journal.
According to the study’s lead author, Dr.Boglarka Petho, assistant professor at Semmelweis University, the researchers aimed to identify the age range during which the fewest congenital abnormalities occurred. Their findings revealed that the safest age to give birth is between 23 and 32. However, they also identified age groups where the risk of birth defects is higher compared to this optimal period.
The study analysed data from the Hungarian Case-Control Surveillance of Congenital Abnormalities, encompassing 31,128 pregnancies complicated by non-chromosomal developmental disorders between 1980 and 2009. The researchers found that the risk of non-chromosomal abnormalities increased by 20% for births under the age of 22 and by 15% for births above the age of 32, in comparison to the ideal childbearing age (23-32).
For younger mothers, the most prominent anomalies affecting their infants were central nervous system malformations, which showed a general increase in risk of 25% in the category under the age of 22. The risk was even higher for mothers below the age of 20.
On the other hand, older mothers faced a doubled increase (100%) in the risk of congenital disorders of the head, neck, ears, and eyes, particularly noticeable in pregnancies over the age of 40.
Prof. NándorÁcs, director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Semmelweis University, emphasized the importance of appropriately addressing the trend of delaying childbearing age, considering the potential long-term exposure to environmental effects that can contribute to non-genetic birth disorders.
While previous research has established a correlation between genetic disorders and maternal age, such as Down syndrome, the understanding of non-chromosomal anomalies is still incomplete in the existing literature.
By providing insights into the optimal age for childbirth and the associated risks, this study offers valuable information for individuals planning to start a family. Understanding the relationship between maternal age and birth defects can contribute to informed decision-making regarding family planning and maternal health.