Pregnant over 35: What you need to know
All those articles we used to read, which define 35+ as being too “old” for pregnancy, need to be updated themselves. In truth, times are changing; fast, and it is not only possible to have a perfectly normal, healthy pregnancy at 35, it’s expected.
20-30 years ago, 35 became the turning point when discussing what was considered to be an “advanced maternal age”. At the time, the chances of your baby having Down Syndrome, for instance, was 1/200 for a 35 year old woman. In the same vein, the risk of a miscarriage due to amniocentesis, was also 1/200. Nowadays, these chances have changed drastically, with the odds of having a Down Syndrome child now being 1/350. In addition, only 1/1,600 women are likely to experience a miscarriage due to amniocentesis.
It is true that the risks increase rather gradually with age but the difference is that we are now able to conduct tests. Nowadays, women are offered additional chromosomal testing, detailed ultrasounds etc.
Relax. If you’re over 35 and generally healthy, your pregnancy should be too.
There are some things you should keep in mind, however.
It may take slightly longer for you to get pregnant. If you’re already pregnant, move to 2.
As you reach your mid to late 30’s, your eggs decrease slightly in quantity and quality.
You’re more likely to develop gestational diabetes. This is much less scary than it sounds. Gestational diabetes is a strain of diabetes that occurs solely during pregnancy and is slightly more common in older women. However, if you control your diet more strictly, thus controlling your blood sugar levels and exercise, this is very manageable. In some cases, additional medication is required as, if not controlled, it may lead to your child growing significantly larger than average.
You’re also more likely to develop somewhat higher blood pressure during your pregnancy. Again, this can be controlled and monitored by yourself and professionals to ensure that your baby’s growth and development is unhindered.
Finally, you might need a C-Section. It must be said that older women have a higher tendency of having pregnancy-related complications, like Placenta Previa, which is a condition by which the placenta blocks the cervix.
Make certain that you follow the golden rules, such as eating healthily, staying active, gaining weight wisely and seeking regular prenatal care; most complications can be avoided, whether you’re 20 or 40.
Getting pregnant. (2014, July). Retrieved May, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/pregnancy/art-20045756?pg=2
Kenney, L. (2016, February). Is Having A Baby Over 35 As Risky As We Thought? Retrieved May 13, 2016, from http://www.self.com/wellness/2016/02/high-risk-pregnancy-what-women-35-over-need-to-know/