NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, February 18, 2016, 3:45 PM
Don’t wait too long to have babies.
Women who give birth after 40 put themselves at increased risk of strokes and heart attacks, according to a new study presented Wednesday at the American Stroke Association meeting in Las Vegas.
Researchers at the Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Institute in Minnesota studied data from 72,000 women over 12 years. Of the women, 3,300 became pregnant later in life, and 3.8% eventually had strokes or heart attacks.
By comparison, only 2.4% of the women who became pregnant at a younger age suffered the same cardiovascular ailments.
Women who had babies later also had slightly higher risks for heart attacks, going from 2.5% to 3%.
Doctors have known that older
women often have more health problems during pregnancies. But this massive new study shows that problems can occur years later.
“Now, we know that the consequences of that later pregnancy stretch years into the future,” Adnan Qureshi, lead researcher, said at the meeting. “Women with a late pregnancy need to be aware of their increased risk and take steps to improve their cardiovascular health.”
The average age that American women have their first baby has been steadily rising since the 1970s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The latest report from the CDC, released in December, shows there were 118,464 births for women 40 and older in 2014.
Of those, 743 births were to women 50 and older.