Moms Over 35
Many women are delaying pregnancy well into their 30s and beyond. There are certain risks to be aware of for delivering a healthy baby. Take good care of yourself as you prepare for baby's
Being a healthy woman with a healthy lifestyle (exercise, diet, stress) promotes healthy pregnancies and babies. The biological clock is a fact of life - but there's nothing magical about
age 35. It's simply the age that's considered the threshold for various risks.
- It may take longer to get pregnant. You're born with all the eggs you'll ever have. As you reach your early 30s, the eggs tend to decline in quality and you may ovulate
less frequently, even if you're still having regular periods. Does this mean you can't get pregnant? Of course not. It is just a longer time frame for planning. If you're older than 35 and have
been unable to conceive for six months, you may want to consult your health care provider for advice.
- You're more likely to develop gestational diabetes. This type of diabetes occurs only during pregnancy, and it's more common as women get older. Tight control of blood sugar
through diet, exercise and other lifestyle measures is essential. Sometimes, medication is needed as well.
- You may need a C-section. Many factors may be at play here. Older mothers have a higher risk of pregnancy-related complications - such as high blood pressure, gestational
diabetes and placenta previa. These problems can lead to a C-section delivery. Labor problems tend to be more common in first-time mothers older than age 35. And if you're carrying twins or other
multiples, you'll likely need a C-section.
- The risk of chromosome abnormalities is higher. Babies born to older mothers have a higher risk of certain chromosome problems, such as Down syndrome. There are tests that exist
to explore potential complications, which are very rare.
- The risk of miscarriage is higher. The risk of miscarriage also increases as you get older - perhaps due to the higher likelihood of chromosomal abnormalities.
Why do older mothers have higher risk of miscarriages and stillbirth?
Sources often list "maternal age" as a risk factor or cause for miscarriage and stillbirth, and it is true that the statistical odds of pregnancy loss are higher in a mother older than 35
than in a mother in her twenties. But why is this? What changes with age?
One reason for the link is that eggs are more likely to be affected by chromosomal abnormalities. Women have their lifetime supply of eggs at birth, and researchers theorize that the most
robust eggs are the first ones ovulated. Then, by the time a mother reaches her mid-thirties, the eggs begin to decline in "quality." This same mechanism also explains why older mothers are
more likely to have babies affected by chromosomal conditions such as Down Syndrome (trisomy of chromosome 21) and why doctors often suggest that mothers in this age bracket have an
amniocentesis in their second trimester.
Another reason could be that, as women age, they are more likely to develop health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. These conditions aren't as highly associated with
miscarriage as chromosomal problems, but they do increase risk of stillbirth and premature delivery.
There are definitely some obstacles and advantages to being an older Mom. Older moms tend to be more prepared and relaxed. Looking at all the things to do - parenting, career, housework,
having the perfect lifestyle...are generally things well thought of with older women. In most cases it can be a more relaxed pregnancy - good for the baby - with the reward of good preparation and
better planning. The obstacles should be discussed with your doctor for the same type of preparation and planning older moms are used to!