The Euro-Peristat network has recently published a new “European Perinatal Health Report. Core indicators of the health and care of pregnant women and babies in Europe from 2015 to 2019”.
The objective of the Euro-Peristat Network is “to establish a high quality, innovative, internationally recognized and sustainable European perinatal information system. This system’s goal is to produce data and analysis on a regular basis for use by national, European and international stakeholders who make decisions about the health and health care of pregnant women and newborns”.
The report has had the collaboration of 24 member states of the European Union and Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. These have provided their data through a set of 10 indicators developed by Euro-Peristat, created to facilitate the comparison of statistical data, granting more validity to the investigations.
Consequences of pregnancies at late ages
According to the study, the age of the pregnant women has considerable repercussions associated with worse pregnancy outcomes. This was observed both at early and late ages.
According to the data collected by the study, over 20.0% of births in most European countries occurred among women aged 35 years and older and 4.0% to women of 40 years and older.
Spain is the country with the highest percentage of childbearing women of 35 years and older (40%), followed by Ireland (39.4%), Italy (34.4%), Portugal (33.2%) and Luxembourg (31.6%). The percentage of childbearing women aged 35 years is increasing.
Spain is also in the lead in terms of pregnant women over 40 years with 9.9%. Countries such as Italy with 9.9%, Ireland with 7.8%, Portugal with 7.7% and Luxembourg with 6.4% are in the same situation.
Throughout the report, the Euro-Peristat network lists the risks of poor pregnancy outcomes, including preterm birth and low birth weight, which are higher for older women giving birth, (see more here).
To this must be added the fact that the majority of women who become pregnant at that age do so through assisted reproductive techniques. In our Observatory we have published several articles that analyze the possible side effects of these reproduction techniques.
The president of the Spanish Neonatology Society, Manuel Sánchez Luna, explained to the newspaper El Español that social changes have influenced the delay in maternity. As he comments: “family communities have ceased to be so, women have started working, the crisis has caused them to delay the moment of pregnancy since it interrupts working life, and other social aspects. This delay generates a reduction in fertility, which goes hand in hand with the risk of prematurity”.