Risks of Older Age Pregnancies

Today, many women are starting families when they are in their mid 30?s or older. Most have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. Benefits of later-age pregnancy include being more financially stable to care for a child, the parents What Does Health Insurance Mean may be more mature, realistic and dedicated to the idea of having a baby than younger parents and most later-age pregnancies involve financial and emotional planning to anticipate the changes a new baby will bring to their lives.
Older women however do face infertility issues, pregnancy risks and increased risks for birth defects at higher rates than younger women. It often takes older women longer to conceive a child than a younger woman. In general, women over the age of 35 tend to ovulate less frequently. In addition, these women may have health conditions before conception such as endometriosis or fibroids which may lead to fertility problems. Also infertility issues may or may not be complicated by a decrease in volume and motility of sperm in older men. Fortunately, many fertility problems can be treated.
Women over the age of 35 may have underlying pre-existing health conditions that may put them in a high risk category. These conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney and heart problems Interviewing A Therapist can impact a pregnancy and affect the development of the baby. Diabetes that is not controlled may contribute to birth defects and miscarriage, and high blood pressure can slow fetal growth.
Later-age pregnancies are more likely to have complications such as gestational diabetes, gestational high blood pressure, placental problems, premature birth and stillbirth. Women with gestational diabetes are more likely to have a large baby which puts the mother and newborn at risk during delivery. High blood pressure in its most severe form is called pre-eclampsia and is dangerous to both the fetus and the mother. Placental problems include placenta previa which can cause severe bleeding during delivery. Premature birth resulting in low birth weight babies and stillbirth are higher in women over age 40 but causes are unknown.
Chromosomal birth defects increase with age. As a women ages, her eggs in her ovaries age with her and are more prone to genetic abnormalities. Down’s syndrome is the most common chromosomal birth defect. Studies indicate that the risk of having a baby with Down’s syndrome at the age of 25 is 1 in 1,250 at 35 it is 1 in 400 and at 49 a mother has a risk of having a Down’s syndrome baby is 1 in 10. Diagnostic tests such as amniocentesis and CVSC are highly accurate in diagnosing or ruling out birth defects. These tests pose a very small risk of miscarriage. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that older women have screening tests in the first or second trimester to help evaluate their risk for having a baby with certain birth defects. These screening blood tests and ultrasound cannot diagnose a birth defect like a amniocentesis can, but screening tests can help evaluate the risk.
The debate over the recent increase in autism leads many researchers to suspect a correlation between older-age pregnancies and autism. A study reported in the BBC indicates that complications during pregnancy and giving birth later in life may increase the risk of having a child with autism. But researchers can not conclude about the relationship between maternal/paternal age of parents and autism because age is a very difficult element to isolate for in retrospective studies. Large, prospective, studies should be undertaken with maternal age as a line of inquiry to help account for the increased rise in autism.
Women of all ages can reduce their risk of pregnancy complications by getting early and regular prenatal care, taking prenatal vitamins, avoiding alcohol and smoking, eating healthy fully cooked food, get enough rest and avoid stress. Choosing to become an older-age parent is a very personal decision and with proper analysis of the risks to both mom and baby it can result in a healthy pregnancy and baby.

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