The influence of maternal age on the outcomes of pregnancies complicated by bleeding at less than 12 weeks

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Abstract

The effect of maternal age on the outcome of threatened miscarriage after ultrasound has confirmed fetal heart (FH) pulsation was assessed. At a university teaching hospital, 138 women presenting with bleeding before 12 weeks' gestation were followed up until delivery or pregnancy loss. Those with multiple or ectopic pregnancy, social termination of pregnancy, assisted conception and temporary residence were excluded. Outcome measures were pregnancy loss, fetal abnormalities, preterm delivery, low birthweight and cesarean delivery. Age over 35 years was significantly associated with reduced live-birth and increased miscarriage rates. Women over 35 years of age had higher cesarean section and pregnancy loss rates than the younger women. The combination of bleeding in early pregnancy and advanced age increases risk of pregnancy loss even after ultrasound has confirmed FH pulsation.

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