Objective: Worldwide the maternal age at birth has progressively increased over the past decades, and the advanced maternal age is associated with a number of complications of pregnancy. This trend may vary by the ethnicities and geographic regions. China has rapidly moved towards industrialisation from the 1980s, and these changes may affect the maternal age at birth. In this study, we analysed the maternal age at birth over 12 years in two large women’s hospitals in China.
Design: Retrospective study of maternal medical records
Setting: Two large Obstetrics and Gynaecology university teaching hospitals in China
Participants: All women with live births over twelve years
Methods: Descriptive analysis with linear regression.
Main outcome measurements: Maternal age of 128,893 women at birth were collected and analysed.
Findings: The mean maternal age at birth was 28.3 years and significantly increased from 2003 to 2014. 91.6% of women who had birth were between 20 and 34 years, and this proportion was not changed during the study period. The proportion of women at birth over 35 years was significantly increased from 7.34% in 2003 to 9.64% in 2014, while the proportion of women at birth under 20 years was significantly reduced from 3.99% in 2003 to 0.25% in 2014.
Conclusion: The maternal age significantly increased in last decades in China and proportion of advanced maternal age was also increased, while the teenage pregnancy rate was dropped. Our data suggest that the revolution of moving towards industrialisation from the 1980s in China may contribute to this trend.