Advanced Maternal Age and Its Association With Cardiovascular Disease in Later Life

Carrie Wolfson, Alison Gemmill, Donna M. Strobino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Fertility among women at advanced maternal age (AMA) is increasing at a rapid rate in the United States. Although much is known about the impact of older maternal age on the risk for proximate adverse pregnancy outcomes, it is unclear whether older maternal age affects subsequent health. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether AMA is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) later in life, adjusting for important social and health factors related to maternal age. Methods: Data were obtained from the Nurses’ Health Study II, a longitudinal prospective cohort study. We investigated whether women with an AMA first or subsequent birth were at higher risk for developing CVD (myocardial infarction or stroke) after age 42 than women without births at AMA. Cox proportional hazard models were estimated to evaluate this association, adjusting for demographic, fertility, and health characteristics. Results: A total of 5,471 women (7.7%) in the sample had a first birth at an AMA and 1,282 (1.8%) developed CVD at age 42 or older. Women with first births at AMA had a 26% lower unadjusted hazard of CVD than women not at an AMA during their first birth (hazard ratio, 0.74; 95% confidence interval, 0.57–0.95). This association was attenuated (hazard ratio, 0.80; 95% confidence interval, 0.62–1.05) and no longer significant after adjustment for covariates; the modest association remained significant for women with any AMA birth. Conclusions: We found no evidence that AMA births were associated with increased risk for developing CVD later in life in this sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-225
Number of pages7
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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