Getting Pregnant After 35: Things to Know about Advanced Maternal Age

Getting Pregnant After 35: Things to Know about Advanced Maternal Age



Fertility specialists say that getting pregnant at a later age raises the risks for both the parent and the child. Cynthia DeTata, an obstetrician at Stanford Health Care, tells Flo.Health about the chances of getting pregnant after the age of 25 and the potential complications.


What is considered advanced maternal age?

Dr DeTata believes that 35 is the starting point for advanced maternal age.


"For a variety of reasons, people are deferring having a baby until later in life, and this is becoming more common. Celebrity stories in the media can make having a baby after 35, or even many years later, seem common and easy. Advances in infertility treatments, as well as the ability to save eggs and embryos, make it easier to conceive after the age of 40."


She claims that, despite advancements and improvements in the ability to care for older pregnant women, the risks of advanced maternal age remain, and they become even more dangerous as age increases. Multiple pregnancies, which are common after infertility treatments, raise the risks even further.


Risks of advanced maternal age

Risks for the pregnant person

According to Dr. DeTata, as people get older, they are more likely to develop chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and thyroid disease. Even if a person is healthy prior to pregnancy, the physical stress of pregnancy can increase the likelihood of pregnancy problems.


People over the age of 35, according to Dr. DeTata, are at a higher risk of the following:

• Ectopic pregnancy
• Miscarriage
• Pregnancy hypertension and preeclampsia
• Anaemia
• Premature labour
• Hypertension
• Diabetes during pregnancy
• Thyroid disorder
• Placental issues
• Long hours of work
• Problems with delivery
• Haemorrhage after childbirth
• Strokes and blood clots
• Embolism of the lungs
• Cardiac issues like myocardial infarction and cardiomyopathy


While the overall risk of death during labour is very low at any age, she claims that advanced maternal age increases this risk.


Risk for the foetus

"The ageing of the eggs increases the risk of genetic problems," says Dr. DeTata. "While the male body produces sperm continuously, the female body is born with all of the eggs it will ever produce, so the age of the eggs increases over time."


Embryos derived from older eggs are more likely to develop genetic problems, particularly chromosomal problems. For example, the risk of Down syndrome, a chromosomal disorder, is one in 1,480 at the age of 20, one in 353 at the age of 35, and one in 35 at the age of 45. Prenatal screening and diagnostic testing are carried out in different ways depending on the age of the mother.


According to Dr. DeTata, older women are more likely to have poor blood circulation to their placenta, which can result in poor foetal growth, low fluid, spontaneous preterm delivery, and stillbirth.


They are also more likely to develop illnesses that can affect their baby's growth, such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes.


It's also possible that the risks associated with advanced maternal age will necessitate an early delivery, increasing the risk of having a premature baby.


How to prepare for pregnancy at an advanced maternal age

Dr. DeTata recommends achieving the healthiest possible weight, exercising, eating a healthy diet, and reducing stress.


"Make an appointment with your doctor for a check-up." They can perform diabetes, thyroid, and hypertension tests. It's best to get tested for these diseases before getting pregnant because they can exist without causing any symptoms. Tell your doctor that you are trying to get pregnant so that any medications they give you to treat problems are safe for your baby."


She also recommends ensuring your immunity to diseases that can affect a growing baby, such as varicella and rubella. While some vaccines can be administered safely during pregnancy, the varicella and rubella vaccines should not be administered to pregnant women. It is best to test your immunity before attempting to conceive so that you can receive these vaccines before becoming pregnant.


You can also get genetic testing to find out if you or your partner is a carrier of certain genetic diseases. Even if the carrier testing comes back negative, your baby may still be at risk of genetic issues due to age.


How does advanced maternal age affect labourand delivery?

Dr. DeTata explains that as a pregnant woman approaches her due date, the placenta begins to degenerate. This means that the blood vessels age and that circulation to the baby through the placenta may decrease. The foetus may not receive the nutrition and oxygen it requires to grow and remain healthy if the placenta is degenerating.


This occurs earlier in people over the age of 35. Doctors frequently recommend inducing labour for delivery at 39 weeks due to the accelerated ageing of the placenta.


According to Dr. DeTata, older people are more likely to require a caesarean delivery because their uterine contractions may not be strong enough. This also means that labour will most likely be prolonged.


"The foetus may have some decreased circulation due to an ageing placenta, which becomes noticeable with the added stress of labour." Babies born to older parents are more likely to have abnormal heart rate tracings, which make caesarean delivery safer than vaginal delivery, according to Dr. DeTata.


"However, advanced maternal age has no effect on breastfeeding." In fact, older parents may be more likely than younger parents to breastfeed for a longer period of time."


What are the pros of waiting until you’re older to have a baby?

According to Dr. DeTata, while there are a number of physiological risks associated with advanced pregnancy age, getting pregnant later in life has a few advantages. For example, older parents are more likely to be secure in their careers, to be in better financial shape, and to have more resources to care for and raise a child.


People who have children early in their careers have a more difficult time advancing because of the time away to care for their child.


According to Dr. DeTata, it is critical to consult with a doctor before deciding to become pregnant, and that having good prenatal care helps reduce risks and increases the likelihood of a safe and healthy pregnancy.


Summing up

According to Dr. DeTata, the age at which a person has a child is not always a conscious decision. Rather, it is determined by the circumstances of one's life.


She advises everyone to think about whether or not they want to have a baby and to make a reproductive life plan. If you want to get pregnant, it's a good idea to talk about it with your doctor every year when you go in for a check-up.


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