Publication: Maternal age and cardiovascular and metabolic disease outcomes

Maternal age and cardiovascular and metabolic disease outcomes: A retrospective cohort study using data from population-based electronic medical records.

The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, 2020. 33(11): pp. 1853-1860.

Feldman B, Orbach-Zinger S, Leventer-Roberts M, Hoshen M, Dagan N, Balicer R, Eidelman LA.


Objective: To evaluate whether a woman’s age at first birth is associated with cardiovascular risk and metabolic health outcomes (cardiometabolic outcomes) by age 45.

Methods: This is a retrospective, population-based cohort study that uses electronic health record data from the largest health fund in Israel. Women aged 34-39 at baseline (2004-2006) free of chronic diseases were identified as nulliparous at baseline and were followed up to 10 years (through 2016). The cohort was divided into three groups based on their age at first birth: younger parturients (ages 35-39), older parturients (ages 40-44), and never had children. The percentage of adverse pregnancy events and cardiometabolic outcomes at age 45 were compared across these three groups as well as to women in the general population. Cardiovascular risk and metabolic health outcomes were defined as: Type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and Framingham risk score.

Methods and results: Out of a group of 126 121 women aged 34-39 at baseline, 9979 were nulliparous and free of comorbidities. Over the course of the follow-up, there were 952 younger parturients and 673 older parturients who had their first birth, and 8354 women who remained persistent nulliparous. While older parturients had more adverse pregnancy events, there was no difference in rates of cardiometabolic outcomes between the two parturient groups, and they both had lower rates than the persistent nulliparous and the general population.

Conclusions: Parturients free of major chronic diseases who give birth at a later age do not have increased cardiometabolic outcomes in midlife as compared to a general population of women in a large retrospective cohort. Our results may support clinicians when counseling healthy women who are seeking advice regarding delaying their first pregnancy without a tradeoff on health outcomes.