Original Article

Parental Age and the Risk of Gestational Hypertension and Preeclampsia

Authors: Christopher Ortiz, DO, MS, Nancy U. Rondeau, MPH, Lisa E. Moore, MD, Zuber D. Mulla, PhD


Objectives: To determine the effect of maternal age (MA) and paternal age (PA) on the risk of gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, and eclampsia in women who delivered on the Texas–Mexico border.

Methods: A cohort study using birth certificate data (singleton pregnancies, years 2005–2010) from El Paso County, Texas, was conducted. Six parental age–exposure categories were created with MA 20 to 34 years and PA younger than 35 years serving as the referent. A directed acyclic graph was created. Adjusted risk ratios for the composite outcome of gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, or eclampsia were calculated using Poisson regression.

Results: A total of 85,114 records were identified, with a majority of the mothers being of Hispanic ethnicity (89.2%). The incidence of the composite outcome ranged from 2.8% in the MA 20 to 34 years old and PA 35 years and older group to 4.4% in the MA younger than 20 years old and PA 35 years and older group. Compared to the MA 20 to 34 years old and PA younger than 35 years group, women in the MA 35 years and older and PA 35 years and older groups were more likely to experience the outcome (adjusted risk ratio 1.57, 95% confidence interval 1.39–1.77, P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Couples in which both parents are 35 years old and older should be counseled on the increased risk of gestational hypertension or preeclampsia/eclampsia.

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