Pregnancy & ageing

Women are waiting longer to have their first baby mostly because timing or a woman's individual situation doesn't make it right quite yet. This is understandable, but it is important to know that increasing age can affect your pregnancy in different ways including increasing the chance of miscarriage, stillbirth and problems with the placenta.




  • when a woman aged 20 gives birth, the chance of a miscarriage is 10%
  • for a woman who is 40, the chance of miscarriage is greater than the chance of a live birth
  • for women aged over 45, the chance of miscarriage is 90%



  • A woman over 35 is 2.4 times more likely than a younger woman to have a stillbirth
  • A woman who is 40 is over 5 times more likely than a woman under 35 to have a stillbirth
Gestational diabetes Increased amounts of sugar in the blood crossing to the unborn baby via the placenta 
Placenta praevia

The placenta implants at the bottom of the uterus over the cervix, and the baby can't be born 

Placental abruption The placenta detaches from the wall of the uterus and may cause bleeding and lack of nutrients to the unborn baby 

If you are worried about how your age can affect your pregnancy please discuss your concerns with your doctor.

Last updated 13 February 2017 — Last reviewed 01 March 2014

This web page is designed to be informative and educational. It is not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace advice from your health practitioner. The information above is based on current medical knowledge, evidence and practice as at March 2014.

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