Are modhers of multiples over 40 a newobstetric entity ?. Perinatoloji Dergisi 2005;13(2):s65-66
- Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago (USA) The Center for Study of Multiple Birth- Chicago US
Louis Keith, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago (USA) The Center for Study of Multiple Birth- Chicago US,
Yayınlanma Tarihi: 01 Nisan 2005
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At present there is no accepted definition of advanced maternal age. Since 1985, the definition has not onlybeen variable, but has crept forward to include over 40 years, over 45 years, menopausal and, most recently,post-menopausal. In recent years, attention has turned to the risk of not getting pregnant and the increasedlikelihood of multiple gestation, both of which are common with advanced maternal age.
Several lines of evidence support the fact that the frequency of multiple births increases after age 40. First, therate of live births per thousand women equal to or greater than 40 years of age increased linearly from 5.7 perthousand in 1990 to 7.7 in 1998 in the United States . Second, in terms of the changes in triplet birth rates,whereas the ratio of 1997-8 versus 1971-77 was 9.1 for mothers aged 40-44, it was 49.9 for mothers aged 45 ormore during the same years. In 2001, Blickstein summarized worldwide changes as follows: 1) older womenare having more babies, and more older women are having babies; and 2) women over 40 are having their firstbaby in developed countries, or their last baby in other countries.
Since 2002, several studies have addressed the neonatal outcomes of triplet pregnancies in women greater than40 years of age. The first, a private run of the NCHS data set conducted by M.S. Amy Branum at the requestof Dr. Louis Keith, found that individual triplet birth rate and total triplet birth weight were increased for mothers age 40 plus compared to mothers age 25-29 (1853g versus 1624g, and 5559g versus 4951g in nulliparas, and 1846g versus 1690g, and 5539g versus 5069g in multiparas, respectively). Of equal importance, the neonatal death rate declined, in triplets from 55 when mothers were age 25-29 to 22 whenmothers were age 40 plus in triplets, and from 21 to 13 in twins when mothers were in the same age categories.In the second study, (Zhang, et al, 2002), the NCHS matched file was interpreted at the NIH and older mothersof triplets fared better than their younger counterparts in terms of relative risk for very preterm birth (= or < 32weeks), very low birth weight < 1500g, perinatal death and infant death. In the third study, Keith and coworkers showed the following: Mothers >40 had only about 1/3 deliveries <28 wks versus mothers 25-29(2.3% versus 6.4%); 2) Mothers >40 had heavier triplets versus mothers 25-29 (A :p=0.016; B:p=0.01;C:p=0.03; 3) Total triplet birth weight was significantly highte for mothers >40 versus mothers 25-29 (p=0.01);4) Births <1kg 35% lower in mothers >40 versus mothers 25-29 (4.5 versus 7%); 75% higher at >2.5kg (9.5versus 5.5%) p=0.005). The final analysis of the NCHS data was by Blickstein, et al. Among almost 60 thousand triplet infants born to nulliparous mothers, the number of triplet sets in which the total triplet birthweight was >5000g increased with maternal age which also accompanied a decline in the number of sets withtotal birth weight <3000g. At present there is no accepted explanation of why older mothers of triplets are advantaged in terms of obstetricoutcomes. One potential explanation is prior pregnancy experience. Experienced clinicians are well aware ofthe fact that the parous uterus is larger than the nulliparous uterus (5.7-9.4cm versus 3.2-8.1cm). They also areaware that the parous uterus weighs more than the nulliparous (125g, para 6 versus 63g, para 0) (Dickenson,1949). What they fail to recognize is that uterine size is related to prior pregnancy experience and that uterinegrowth results from the hormonal changes associated with early pregnancy. According to Lye et al (2001),new myometrial cells proliferate early in pregnancy. Subsequently, "new" cells switch from proliferation tohypertrophy. Thus, even pregnancy that ends in abortion results in cell hyperplasia. If this be the case, eachsubsequent pregnancy potentially results in a more efficient uterine structure. Of the studies cited above, onlyKeith et al’s investigation of the Matria database contained information pertaining to history of abortion.Here, more women >40 years of age had a history of abortion versus women age 25-29 p=0.001. Based upon emerging data, it is possible to conclude the following:
1) Unlike the ovary, the uterus does notlose its ability to function with age;
2) It is not presently clear if older mothers are advantaged or youngermothers are disadvantaged;
3) In terms of neonatal outcomes, cautious optimism may be warranted, at least fortriplet pregnancies;
4) Our understanding of other maternal risks that are associated with aging is incomplete.Finally, it is reasonable to state that a mother of multiples over age 40 does indeed represent a new obstetricentity.