Older pregnant women are to be monitored more carefully according to reports sounded at the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Conference in San Francisco, as they are at a higher risk of giving birth to still-born babies, than previously known.
Mert Ozan Bahtiyar of Yale School of Medicine, who put forward results made after an extensive study of suitable subjects, led the study.
It was seen that the risk of intrauterine fetal demise or stillbirth was three times higher in women aged above 40.
It is already known that pregnant women of advanced maternal age (AMA) are at an increased risk for a multitude of pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes mellitus, preeclampsia, placenta previa and intrauterine growth restriction, all of which have been associated with a higher rate of stillbirth.
The researchers looked at over 11 million babies born to women aged between 15 and 44 during the period 1995 to 1997.
The researchers were left with the medical histories of six million babies after excluding maternal complications and congenital abnormalities in the fetus.
It was observed that women who give birth between the ages of 40 to 44 were at three times the risk of stillbirth than women aged 25 to 29.
This was based on the data from the US Centers for Disease Control, which registered the deaths of the babies.
In addition, Bahtiyar recommends that the fetuses of older women be monitored from 38 weeks onwards, with checks including listening to the baby's heart-beat and testing the amniotic fluid to pick up any signs of distress.
It was seen from study results that antenatal checks beginning at this time, had the greatest impact on reducing stillbirths.