Maternal Age and Risk of Labor and Delivery Complications

Patricia A. Cavazos-Rehg, Melissa J. Krauss, Edward L. Spitznagel, Kerry Bommarito, Tessa Madden, Margaret A. Olsen, Harini Subramaniam, Jeffrey F. Peipert, Laura Jean Bierut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


We utilized an updated nationally representative database to examine associations between maternal age and prevalence of maternal morbidity during complications of labor and delivery. We used hospital inpatient billing data from the 2009 United States Nationwide Inpatient Sample, part of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. To determine whether the likelihood that maternal morbidity during complications of labor and delivery differed among age groups, separate logistic regression models were run for each complication. Age was the main independent variable of interest. In analyses that controlled for demographics and clinical confounders, we found that complications with the highest odds among women, 11–18 years of age, compared to 25–29 year old women, included preterm delivery, chorioamnionitis, endometritis, and mild preeclampsia. Pregnant women who were 15–19 years old had greater odds for severe preeclampsia, eclampsia, postpartum hemorrhage, poor fetal growth, and fetal distress. Pregnant women who were ≥35 years old had greater odds for preterm delivery, hypertension, superimposed preeclampsia, severe preeclampsia, and decreased risk for chorioamnionitis. Older women (≥40 years old) had increased odds for mild preeclampsia, fetal distress, and poor fetal growth. Our findings underscore the need for pregnant women to be aware of the risks associated with extremes of age so that they can watch for signs and symptoms of such complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1202-1211
Number of pages10
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Labor and delivery
  • Maternal morbidity
  • Young maternal age


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