To analyze the characteristics of infant mortality at the extremes of maternal age.
Retrospective, cross-sectional quantitative study using data from Live Birth Certificates, Death Certificates and from Child Death Investigation records in Londrina, Paraná, in the years of 2000-2009.
During the 10-year study period
there were 176 infant deaths among mothers up to 19 years of age, and 113 deaths among mothers aged 35 years or more. The infant mortality rate among young mothers was 14.4 deaths per thousand births, compared to 12.9 deaths in the other age group. For adolescent mothers, the following conditions prevailed: lack of a stable partner (p<0.001), lack of a paid job (p<0.001), late start of prenatal care in the second trimester of pregnancy (p<0.001), fewer prenatal visits (p<0.001) and urinary tract infections (p<0.001). On the other hand, women aged 35 or more had a higher occurrence of hypertension during pregnancy (p<0.001), and of surgical delivery (p<0.001). Regarding the underlying cause of infant death, congenital anomalies prevailed in the group of older mothers (p=0.002), and external causes were predominant in the group of young mothers (p=0.019).
Both age groups deserve the attention of social services for maternal and child health, especially adolescent mothers, who presented a higher combination of factors deemed hazardous to the child's health.
Infant mortality; Maternal age; Risk factors; Causes of death