Characteristics of Primiparous Women of Advanced Age and Their Partners: A Homogenous or Heterogenous Group?

Authors

  • Maryse Guedes MSc,

    student, Corresponding author
    1. Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
    • Address correspondence to Maryse Guedes, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Coimbra, Rua do Colégio Novo, Apartado 6153, 3001-802 Coimbra, Portugal.

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  • Maria Cristina Canavarro PhD

    Full Professor,Coordinator of the Unit of Psychological Intervention,Maternity Doctor
    1. Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
    2. Unit of Psychological Intervention, Maternity Doctor Daniel de Matos, Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
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Abstract

Background

Recent studies have reported that primiparous women of advanced maternal age (AMA) appear to constitute a heterogeneous group, emphasizing the need to revise stereotyped views. The aims of this study were the following: 1) to describe the sociodemographic and marital characteristics of Portuguese couples who experienced first childbirth at advanced maternal age (the AMA group) compared with their younger counterparts (the comparison group); 2) to compare the reproductive characteristics of both groups and identify distinct reproductive trajectories within the AMA group; and 3) to distinguish among different subgroups of couples within the AMA group, depending on distinct patterns of sociodemographic, marital, and reproductive characteristics.

Methods

The sample consisted of 250 couples. Both partners completed sociodemographic, marital, and reproductive health forms during pregnancy.

Results

Despite being more highly educated, having a higher socioeconomic status, and having been employed longer, the AMA group displayed diverse conjugal configurations and reproductive trajectories over time. Within the AMA group, two subgroups were distinguished: couples who experienced infertility problems and couples who did not.

Conclusions

Couples who experience first childbirth at AMA constitute a heterogeneous group, which includes distinct subgroups with different psychosocial needs during the transition to parenthood. To revise stereotyped views of these couples, protective social policies should be improved, and health professionals should assume nonjudgmental attitudes and promote informed reproductive decisions. Psychoeducative programs concerning the transition to parenthood should take into account the distinct subgroups of couples who experience first childbirth at AMA.

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