Risk of Birth Defects Rises as Women Conceive Later in Life

      May 27, 2013 10:09

      The number of babies born with physical defects, or congenital malformation, has increased by 137 percent in the last seven years, and the main reason is believed to be that women are giving birth later in life.

      The National Health Insurance Corporation said on Sunday that the number of infants less than 12 months old who received treatment for congenital anomalies jumped from 13,786 in 2005 to 32,601 in 2011.

      As of 2011, some 730 out of every 10,000 babies were affected. The NHIC said that as more women are conceiving at a later age, this has increased the potential risks and complications associated with pregnancy and delivery.

      The number of women in their 40s who gave birth soared by 104.2 percent from 2005 to 11,049 in 2011, while those who did so in their 30s went up 36.3 percent and those under 30 fell 22.4 percent.

      Kim Eui-hyuk, an ob-gyn at the NHIC's Ilsan Hospital, said, "The older the pregnant woman, the higher the prevalence of diabetes. It is important to take folic acid even before pregnancy and manage blood sugar levels and blood pressure."

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