The percentage of pregnant women with advanced maternal age (AMA) has increased during the past several decades due to various socioeconomic factors and advances in assisted reproduction. These pregnancies are associated with adverse maternal and fetal outcomes. However, the underlying placental pathology has not been well described.
To investigate the placental histopathology associated with AMA pregnancies.
Placental pathology from 168 AMA women 35 years or older at delivery was reviewed. The cases were subdivided into 2 age subgroups, ages 35 to 39 and 40 or older, as well as a "pure AMA" subgroup where the only indication for placental examination was AMA. A group of 60 consecutive non-AMA placentas was also identified and used as comparison. The spectrum of histologic features in each case was catalogued.
Of the overall AMA cases, meconium deposition was seen in 55% (93 of 168), chorangiosis in 40% (68 of 168), and acute chorioamnionitis in 36% (60 of 168). Fetal vascular malperfusion was also seen with high frequency (30%; 50 of 168). Two histologic alterations found to be significantly different between the 35 to 39 and greater than 40 age subgroups were fetal vascular malperfusion (11% [7 of 65] versus 42% [43 of 103]; P = .001) and delayed villous maturation (1.5% [1 of 65] versus 13% [13 of 103]; P = .02). The pure AMA subgroup showed no statistically significant differences compared with the overall AMA group. Chronic deciduitis was the only statistically significant difference between the overall AMA group and the non-AMA comparison group (14% [23 of 168] versus 30% [18 of 60]; P = .02).
Our findings, particularly the high frequency of fetal vascular malperfusion, suggest that AMA should be an independent indication for placental pathologic examination.