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Good news (for once) for older pregnant women

Claire Zulkey wonders when she'll ever get used to the idea that she has two boys. She is the author of two books for young people, An Off Year and Best Frenemies. She and her filmmaker husband live in Evanston, IL. You can find out more...

Pregnancy increases stroke risk in young women, but not in older women

If you’ve been pregnant past the age of 35, then you’re familiar with the amusing-but-not-really experience of being referred to as "geriatric." Being an "older" pregnant woman brings various risks (such as greater risk of high blood pressure, miscarriage or gestational diabetes). But a new study published in JAMA shows older pregnant women get at least one break: Younger women, but not older women, have an increased stroke risk during pregnancy and immediately after.

More: 7 reasons I love being the 'oldest mom on the block'

The study, which came out of Columbia University Medical Center, focused on data collected on every woman hospitalized for stroke in New York state between 2003 and 2012. Pregnancy-associated strokes affected 14 of every 100,000 pregnant women aged 12 (!) to 24 years old, compared to 6.4 per 100,000 non-pregnant women in that group. Overall, pregnancy-associated strokes accounted for 18 percent of strokes in women younger than 35 years versus 1.4 percent of strokes in women aged 35 to 55 years.

“These results have potential implications for research aimed at better characterizing and preventing PAS and clinically in terms of counseling patients,” wrote the study’s authors. “Although older women have an increased risk of many pregnancy complications, a higher risk of stroke may not be one of them.” So, celebrate, old pregnant women! But slowly and carefully, Grandma — don’t break a hip.

More: Frankie Muniz's frightening mini-stroke symptoms

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