Pregnancy After 35: Pros and Cons
Pregnancy after 35: Pros and Cons
Generally getting pregnant and delivering a child is a laborious task for a woman.When you are 35 and above, it becomes a daunting task with its own risks and accompanying complications. In countries like India, if you are a woman of 35 and above and have a married daughter or a daughter-in-law, naturally it acts as a deterrent and prevents you from getting pregnant. Otherwise, you may become a laughing stock in the eyes of the society. In the modern days, women’s education, advancement in their careers and their empowerment etc naturally force them to get married in their 30s and thereby getting pregnant after 35.However, in the western society, pregnancy after 35 is not uncommon, since they are getting frequently divorced and getting remarried. After a second or third remarriage of a woman, if she wants to have a child for her newly married husband, naturally she has to become pregnant in her late 30s or 40s.
Since medical science has vastly improved and remains advanced, getting pregnant after 35 has got its own pros and cons.
- When the average life expectancy of a woman was just 50, getting pregnant after 35 was considered risky. However, with the increase of the life expectancy of a woman in these modern days with better living standards, healthier life style and modern health care, a 35 year woman is considered to be in her prime and fit to have a child.
- Women after 35 are more settled and ready to have a baby, since they already have a career and more leisure to carry out more family responsibilities and make more sacrifices than the younger women.
- Woman after 35 are more mature to handle the emotional situations coupled with financial burden.
- Research shows that the women after 35 breastfeed their children than the younger women. Hence, their children fare better at schools and in the ability tests as well.
- Women after 35 or older mothers, having been already fulfilled in their life, are ready and willing to spend more time with their newly born children than the younger ones. Hence, older mothers make more sacrifices for their children than the younger mothers. There are a number of celebrity mothers, who had their children in their late 30s or 40s: Example: 1. Cherie Blair had a baby at 45. 2. Madonna had a baby at 41. 3. Sara Brown (wife of Gordon Brown) had a baby at 40 and 42.
However, there are a number of potential risks in having a baby after the age of 35.
- Women after 35 prior to their pregnancy will be already having a number of physical complaints like arthritis, hypertension and diabetes etc. After becoming pregnant, they also run the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes during pregnancy or delivery of the child.
- After 35, the more a woman is aged, more complications she develops during her pregnancy and child birth, like induced labor, diagnosis of fetal distress, epidural anesthesia and use of forceps. All sorts of caesarian complications a woman develop according to the increase of her age after 35.First time pregnant women after the age of 40 will be electing more for a caesarian than the women under the age of 30.
- According to a medical study undertaken in Denmark covering a period of 1978 to 1992, women after 35 or older moms will most probably have miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and stillbirth.
- There is also the risk of delivering a handicapped baby by the women after 35 years of age.
- More babies born to older moms inexplicably die ‘in utero’ right at the end of pregnancy. In the case of women after 35 or older moms, it occurs 1 in 440 pregnancies, whereas in the case of younger women it is 1 in 1000.
- There is an increased risk of developing diabetes by the babies delivered by the older moms. The mother’s age is strongly related to the type of diabetes that it may develop.
- Premature births, before 37 weeks of fetal growth with underweight (less than 5 ½ pounds) is more likely in the case of pregnancies of women after 35 or older moms. Premature births have risen by 30 % in US in the last 25 years. In 2004 alone, there were 12.5 % premature births, out of the total number of births. Premature babies are at a greater risk of death and disability.
- Women getting pregnant after 35 will also have a chance of delivering twins or triplets.
- The risk of conceiving a baby with a chromosomal problem increases with the age at which a woman gets pregnant. For example, the risk of having a baby with down syndrome is 1 in 759 at the age of 30, 1 in 302 at the age of 35, 1 in 82 at the age of 40.
- A woman getting pregnant after 35 may also develop problems like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, placental abruption (placenta getting severed before birth) or placenta previa (placenta lies low in the uterus)
- It may take longer time to get pregnant in the case of women after 35 or older moms. The biggest obstacle for a woman getting pregnant after 35 is the decrease in fertility rate and so the decline in the rate of pregnancy between the ages of 30 and 45.Hence it is difficult for a woman to get pregnant as she is getting aged. The rate of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy increases as a woman is getting aged in her pregnancy. However, in US, the rate of pregnancies during 1990 to 2000 have increased as follows:
a) Between 35 and 39 was increased by 30 %
b) Between 40 and 45 was increased by 47 %
c) Between 45 and 49 was increased by 190 %
Despite the demerits and drawbacks mentioned above, it is still possible for a woman in her post 35 or 40 to get conceived, because, age alone is not the factor that creates all sorts of problems in a woman. Other factors that influence her pregnancy are:
- A woman’s life style that includes healthy diet, exercise, remaining a teetotaler by avoiding smoking, drinks, drugs etc
- Woman’s family history
- Number of children she already have
- Parent’s genetics
- Woman’s prenatal care
Therefore, despite being risky to get conceived for a woman in her post 35 or 40, still it is possible for a woman to avoid or face such risks by having a proper medical counseling before getting conceived and having a proper prenatal and postnatal care during her pregnancy and child birth and thereby become a successful and caring mother.