By Tess Lawrence, edited for online by Sarah Richards

A new study highlights the increased likelihood of pregnancy complications for older women.

Monash University has released a study telling women over the age of 35 to beware of the medical implications of having a baby.

The study, conducted by midwife and researcher Dr Mary Anne Biro, says mature mums need to be aware of a number of conditions

“For both women having their first babies and subsequent babies, they’re at greater risk of developing gestational diabetes, and that’s compared to younger women,” Dr Biro said.

“They are also at greater risk of a condition called placenta previa.”

She says a large number of these medical complications end in the woman being forced to have a caesarean.

And while these conditions can be found in pregnant women of any age, the ratio gets much higher as the woman gets older.

Dr Biro says the percentage of women choosing to have children after their mid 30s is growing exponentially.

“In 1985, about seven per cent of women were 35 years and older in Victoria and in 2006 that’d gone to about 24 per cent,” Dr Biro said.

She says she thinks a big part of this trend is women wanting to set themselves up financially before heading down the path of having a family.

“It’s about societal factors such as career choices that women make, it’s wanting to have economic stability,” Dr Biro said.

But mum of two, 40-year-old Michaela Turner, says careers are not always the reason women have children later in life.

“For me it came down to finding the right partner to get married and have children and I think sometimes that can take a little bit longer for some people,” Ms Turner said.

She runs the Arana Hills Gumnuts Kids Play Group and says her pregnancy was no more complicated than those of other younger mums she knows.

“I’m fine at my age, I haven’t had any complications with having children,” Ms Turner said.

“I might’ve had a bit of depression with the first one.”

Another issue surrounding mature mums is the push to return to the work force as soon as possible.

Many childcare and play group services are now being forced to lower the age of babies they take to meet the demand.

Ms Turner says it is always a concern when employers are not pregnancy friendly.

“I mean I’ve been teaching for 17 years, so I’ve been in the same situation for a long time,” Ms Turner said.

“Some do discriminate and some don’t.”