You are in your late thirties and you have reached the top of your career. You and your partner own your home and you feel very committed to each other. You may well be married, and even if you are not you are no longer interested in playing the field. You have everything you worked for during your younger years, except one thing. You feel that the time has come to have a baby and you know that if you don?t have one soon you might end up missing the opportunity forever. But at your age the idea of getting pregnant worries you because you have heard so many horror stories about risks of genetic illnesses or infant loss. So what are the risks of entering a pregnancy after 35?
If you do conceive at the age of 35 or older, you will definitely be monitored for more risks than your younger neighbour. The reason for this is that if you do get pregnant at an older age you have had more time to develop existing issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or fibroids, all of which can affect a pregnancy.
But even before you get there, you need to know that after the age of thirty you become less fertile. But this does not mean that you won?t get pregnant. Think of the number of women that you know who have safely conceived, carried, and given birth to babies at 35, 40, or even older, and you can see that it is more than possible. However, it may take you longer than it would have done when you were younger, especially if this is to be be your first baby.
When it comes to giving birth, older mothers are also monitored more carefully than younger women for potential complications in pregnancy and risks of miscarriage. This is because once again, they are considered to be at a higher risk. However, please bear in mind that there is no specific age-related disorder that the medical professionals are looking out for. Nonetheless, more babies die in utero among older mothers (1 in 440 pregnancies among mothers aged 35 and up, as opposed to 1 in 1,000 among younger women), so older pregnancies, and especially a pregnancy after 40, will be considered to be far more ?at risk.?
In terms of the baby, the most important factor to bear in mind is that the chances of having a Downs Syndrome baby do increase after the age of 40. At that stage, the risk is 1 in 60 ? as compared to 1 in 1,500 for women who are 25 years of age. However, please put this into perspective as most older mothers give birth to children who are totally healthy, and there are many younger women who have children with Downs Syndrome. Also remember that many children with Downs Syndrome do go on to lead active and productive lives. Whether you could potentially raise a child with special needs if the situation were to occur is a very individual decision that you would need to raise with your partner. At this stage, however, the best way to handle this issue would be to do prenatal screening during your pregnancy, and then make your choices if and when it would become necessary.
For more information on prenatal genetic testing, click here.
A lot of how you handle your pregnancy and birth depends on you. The early stages of pregnancy, and indeed the first trimester, can be very draining for any woman of any age. Constipation and pregnancy often go together, and then there are the joys of morning sickness, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and fatigue.
Yet statistically, older mothers do not necessarily have it any harder than their younger neighbours. Let?s see why:
If you decide that having a baby is what you really want, then you should follow a lot of the advice that is given to younger mothers. Use your age and experience to implement that advice properly, and even if you do feel more tired at 37 than you did at 27, you should still have a healthy pregnancy and a safe delivery of a healthy baby.
Effectively, this means making sure that you are healthy and in good shape. Keep a pregnancy calendar, monitoring your pregnancy week by week, to make sure that there are no causes for concern. Find a good health professional that you can be in touch with throughout the nine months until you give birth. And always ask questions. Don?t be embarrassed to think that at your age you should know all the answers, but you still don?t. Even mothers of very large families will tell you that every pregnancy at any age is unique and they do not know everything that there is to know about pregnancy and childbirth.
Don?t let your fear of the risks that do exist destroy your hopes or chances to have a baby. If you already have children, this could be your last chance to have one more. Your older ones may be a little more off hand and would even be delighted to give you a hand with a little baby. And if you don?t have any children yet, this could be your final chance at parenthood. Therefore, you should always do plenty of research at every point before making your ultimate decision as to whether or not you want to get pregnant.
And hopefully, if you decide to conceive, you will enjoy your pregnancy and birth, and you will use the benefit of your age and experience to raise your child in the best possible way.