Getting Pregnant After 35? Here’s What You Need to Know

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Modern days have seen an increase in the average age that women start to have babies. This could be a combination of factors, from career ambitions to establishing a secure relationship first.

There are fertility issues to take into consideration, as well. Difficulty conceiving seems to be on the rise as more couples wait to start a family.

Whatever your reason, if you have found yourself pregnant and over 35 years old, these are some things you should know.

You Are Not Too Old

It is of utmost importance to address age. As the well-known cliché goes, “Age is only a number”. In the case of having a baby, or babies, age is but a number.

While it is true that there are studies done associating an older maternal age to complications and risks, these are usually caused by conditions or issues that already exist within the woman.

Each person is different and consideration for good health must go beyond how old you are.

Get Checked Out

You don’t have to be ill to see your doctor. It is smart thinking to have a complete physical examination and an entire bloodwork panel drawn before trying to conceive, whenever possible.

If you have found you’re expecting then making an appointment as soon as possible is in your best interest as well as your baby.

This is true for every woman trying to conceive or newly pregnant, but for women over 35 you will want to catch any existing problems or potential problems with your health earlier than later.

It May Take Longer to Get Pregnant

With age our bodies change and so do our hormones, there is no denying that. Because of these changes and possible imbalances, it may take you longer to get pregnant than younger women or even than your younger self if you already have children.

This nothing to be alarmed about, since it is common. The good news is that if you haven’t achieved a positive pregnancy test after six months of trying, you can see your doctor for next steps instead of waiting the usual 12 months told to younger couples.

You May Lose Friends

Although having children later in life is becoming more the norm, there will still be a group of people who feel that having children past 35 is too late and will impede on life too much.

These differing views could drive a wedge between you and some of your friends or acquaintances. Having a baby also requires almost all your time, especially in the beginning and some of your friends may not understand that you won’t be making the gatherings and dinners for a while.

Don’t worry too much, you will meet new people, people who are in the same life stage as you, when you attend baby groups etc.

More Testing is Offered

Be prepared to be offered more tests when pregnant due to advanced maternal age. Try not to worry too much, these are offered across the board to expectant mothers over 35. Usually these tests check for birth defects or abnormalities as well as your health.

Conditions such as pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure and gestational diabetes are more common in women over age 35, so you will be tested and examined at each visit.

There Are Some Risks

Most often, the risks associated with your age alone are very minimal, but it would be ignorant to overlook the fact that there are risks which could come with pregnancy over 35, no matter how minimal.

These risks could occur during pregnancy or cause issue with your unborn child and they include:

  • Gestational Diabetes — this is when your body develops an imbalance in insulin while pregnant and you would have to be monitored through diet and possibly insulin injections. Gestational diabetes could cause pre-term labor, high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia
  • Chromosomal abnormalities in baby—these could include Downs Syndrome and Turner Syndrome. Genetic testing is usually offered to detect these earlier on in your pregnancy
  • High Blood Pressure — due to the more strain pregnancy has on your body, you may be more susceptible to high blood pressure when you are expecting over the age of 35.
  • Increase in miscarriage and stillbirth — with age the risk percentage increases from 35 and up

Be Prepared for the Possibility of Multiples

With a mature age, comes the potential for becoming pregnant with multiples, most commonly twins. The reason behind this is that as women age, they produce more of the hormone FSH, which aids in the growth and release of eggs from the ovary.

This will sometimes cause more than one egg to be released at once. More than one egg being fertilised, of course, results in more than one baby!

Women who are under the care of fertility specialists using fertility drugs will also have a higher incidence of multiples.

Higher Rate of Caesarian Sections

This isn’t something to fret about, since not all older mothers will have to undergo a C-section to give birth. But, the fact remains that for more mature women, the rate of giving birth via caesarian is higher.

There are many factors which could contribute to needing a C-section including complications during labor and delivery or even issues during pregnancy such as placenta Previa.

This is when the placenta lies very low and blocks the cervix, making a vaginal birth dangerous in most cases. With advances made in modern medicine, having a caesarian is safe and will not affect your chances of having any more children., having a caesarian is relatively safe and will not affect your chances of having any more children.

Don’t Forget Your Vitamins

Taking a multivitamin plus folic acid, at the very least is of utmost importance during pregnancy for any woman but especially so if you are over 35.

Women tend to need higher levels of vitamins as they age, which means taking up to 1000mg of folic acid is perfectly safe. It is always best, of course, to talk to your doctor.

You may consider a calcium supplement as well since calcium plays a key role in bone development for baby and we tend to lack this in our diet and in our bodies as we get older.

References

  • Gurevich, R. (2017, August 19). What are my Chances of Having Twins? Retrieved from Verywell.com
  • Health Unlocked. (2016, August 5). Gestational Diabetes. Retrieved from NHS Choices
  • Roberts, C. (2017, August). 10 Facts About Pregnancy After 35. Retrieved from www.activebeat.com
  • WebMD. (2017). Pregnancy After Age 35. Retrieved from www.webmd.com

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