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Pregnant and Older May Mean More Complications
Date:4/23/2009

CDC finds some problems on the rise, with no clear explanations,,,,

THURSDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- Although the rate of complications during pregnancy has remained unchanged since 1993, the percentage of pregnant women with preexisting conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, has increased, a new study finds.

The scientists speculated that the increase was driven by more obese women and more older women having babies. Both obesity and the mother's age have been linked to increased complications during pregnancy and delivery, according to researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"There's the good news and the bad news," said study co-author Dr. William Callaghan, a senior scientist in the CDC's Maternal and Infant Health Branch in the Division of Reproductive Health. "The good news is that we are seeing some improvements. The bad news is that some of the traditional complications of pregnancy -- hemorrhage and hypertension -- are increasing."

Why these problems are on the rise is not clear, Callaghan said. "It would be great to understand why and, to the extent they are preventable, prevent them," he said.

The report is published in the May issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

For the study, Callaghan and his CDC colleagues used data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey to estimate the rate of pregnancy and delivery complications, including preexisting medical conditions and cesarean delivery. They compared data from 2001 to 2005 with data from 1993 to 1997.

They found that the overall rate of delivery complications held steady at 28.6 percent. However, the prevalence of preexisting medical conditions among women delivering infants increased, from 4.1 percent to 4.9 percent.

High blood pressure, preeclampsia, diabetes, asthma and bleeding after delivery all increased, raising concern among the researchers. "Th
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