In Italy, as in all Western countries, the almost monotonic decline in fertility observed since the 1960s has been paralleled until the beginning of the 1980s by a decrease in maternal age at delivery. Since then, age at marriage and at childbearing has been increasing and marital fertility has continued to decrease. By 1994 Italy showed extreme values of low total fertility rate (1.22) and of high mean maternal age at delivery (29.7). For the period between 1960 and 1994 we identified five U-shaped patterns in maternal age at delivery corresponding to five geographical areas, which differ socioeconomically and culturally. Since it is well known that an increase in the maternal age is accompanied by an increase in the risk of unfavorable pregnancy outcome, we estimated the stillbirth risk run by older (≥35 years) mothers who delivered in 1994, with respect to their younger counterparts. The differences between the areas are reflected in the higher risk in southern compared to northern Italy: the maximum value occurred in Sicily (odds ratio 2.02, 95% confidence interval, 1.51–2.70) and the minimum value, even lower than in the north but not statistically significant, was found in Sardinia (odds ratio 1.25, 95% confidence interval, 0.81–1.91), known to be characterized by peculiar cultural and biological features.
Astolfi, Paola; Ulizzi, Laura; and Zonta, Laura A.
"Trends in Childbearing and Stillbirth Risk: Heterogeneity
among Italian Regions,"
2, Article 2.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol74/iss2/2