Pregnancy is a fascinating event at any age possible. Read the article to learn our advice and tips for pregnancy after age 35.
Like many other women, Isabel Carpenter from Green Oaks, Ill., put off having a baby until later in life. She was busy working on her career, relocating around the country and enjoying the challenges in her life.
“I was doing all that I ever dreamed and more,” says Carpenter. “However, by the time I was 38 years old, I owned a beautiful home in a northwestern suburb of Chicago but was alone and had no one to share my life with. I had always thought I would be married and have children, but at the age of 38, I finally realized that I had to make my personal life as much of a priority as my career.” (Pregnancy After Age 35)
Carpenter met and married her husband, and they immediately began trying for children. By this time, Carpenter was over 40 and it wasn’t as easy to conceive as they had hoped. It took four years to conceive, and the disadvantages of being an older pregnant woman soon became obvious.
“Because it was so hard to finally get pregnant, I tended to worry a great deal and wonder if the baby was OK,” says Carpenter. “I was nervous at every OB appointment and couldn’t wait to hear the baby’s heartbeat and get reassurance that everything was progressing OK.”
You should see our other articles and categories to learn the things you wonder.
Reducing the Risks
Worry and fear seem to be a common denominator among older pregnant women and for good reason. According to Rosalie O., medical director, women older than 35 – and especially those over 40 – are at significant risk for developing a myriad of complications during pregnancy. Those complications include gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, intrauterine growth retardation, pre-term labor and postpartum bleeding.
To learn about predicting preterm labor: Predicting Preterm Labor – Gauging Effectiveness of Home Uterine Activity Monitors
“The chance of needing a Cesarean section is also significantly increased,” says Rosalie. “For women over 50, especially those who get pregnant using donor eggs, the incidence of diabetes and pre-eclampsia, for example, can be as high as 50 percent.”
Because the incidence of genetic abnormalities starts increasing in an exponential fashion in women over 35, they are strongly encouraged to do prenatal genetic testing (such as nuchal translucency, CVS or amniocentesis). The fetuses of pregnancies complicated by gestational diabetes and hypertension are also at risk.
Also, check our another article about gestational diabetes: Diabetes and Pregnancy – You Can Still Have a Healthy Baby
The best way for older mothers to minimize these risks is to keep themselves in top physical condition. Exceptional nutrition and quality exercise are a good idea for any woman trying to become pregnant, but for the older mother it becomes even more important.
“Adequate prenatal care is absolutely critical,” says Rosalie. “All women are encouraged to have a very close rapport with their OBs and undergo all the recommended tests and keep their appointments. Complicated pregnancies are best handled by a high-risk OB specialist.”
What about your ideas? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section.
Just How Old Are You Anyway?
Jann Blackstone-Ford, author of Midlife Motherhood: A Woman-to-Woman Guide to Pregnancy and Parenting, had to deal with a few insensitive comments while pregnant.
“I got a lot of ‘you’re so stupid for doing this at your age,’” says Blackstone-Ford. “But younger women get the same thing for being so young. I guess the only age women are supposed to have babies is from about 26 to 34. Before that, you get ‘you’re too young,’ and after that you get ‘you’re too old.’” (Pregnancy After Age 35)
It’s important for older mothers to hang onto their own personal reasons for becoming pregnant after that “correct age.” Whether you couldn’t conceive any earlier or because you wanted to establish your career before starting your family, remember that being pregnant is your choice. It’s not always easy to do, but Blackstone-Ford feels it’s necessary to get philosophical about it.
“Society loves to label and place judgment,” says Blackstone-Ford. “Now, at 50, I’ve learned not to be affected by any of it. When you don’t let people’s comments affect you, it all seems very silly.”
Older pregnant women often have the same pregnancy symptoms that their younger counterparts do, but they often seem exacerbated because of the woman’s age. You don’t bounce back as easily at 40 as you did at 25, and even extremely fit older women often feel tired easily and lack energy.
Judith Newman is the mother of twin boys and author of the book You Make Me Feel Like an Unnatural Woman: Diary of a New (Older) Mother. She began her journey at age 33, but it took her until she was 40 to have children. Her way of dealing with the discomforts of pregnancy was with humor.
“Without it humor I don’t know how anyone gets through,” says Newman. “I mean, it’s either pretty funny or you cry. Humor is nothing more than the ability to get outside yourself and see things in the long term.”
But no matter how you feel during your pregnancy, the reward for the older mother is the same as the younger mother’s – a baby that will offer you sleepless nights, require endless diaper changes and give you love that will brighten the rest of your days.
Our articles are prepared to give advice. Always consult your doctor first for any problems and exact information.
The names of the people mentioned in the article have been changed for security reasons and to protect privacy.