Motherhood Later in Life

It’s been proven that the risks associated with pregnancy increase as a woman ages. In fact, pregnancy in a woman who is 35 or older will automatically be treated as a high-risk pregnancy by doctors regardless of a mother’s medical history or current health.

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The dream of motherhood can still be achieved later in life.

Advanced maternal age increases the risk of complications like miscarriage, placenta previa, fetal distress, cesarean birth, high blood pressure, diabetes, ectopic pregnancy and premature delivery and also puts the baby at risk for low birth-weight, genetic disorders like Down syndrome, asphyxia, brain bleeds and stillbirth.

However, advances in medicine like in-vitro fertilization are enabling women to carry and deliver children at a greater age than would have been possible in the past. In fact, many well known celebrities have had babies well past age 35 – Gina Davis had her first child at 46 and twins at 48, Beverly D’Angelo had twins at 49, Holly Hunter had twins at 47, and the list goes on.

So, while pregnancy later in life is more viable now than it’s ever been, it’s still important to take the following precautions if you plan on conceiving past age 35, as recommended by the March of Dimes:

  • Plan for pregnancy by seeing a health care provider before you conceive.
  • Ensure that you are receiving optimal prenatal care. Prenatal care is especially important if you’re over 35 because you’re more likely to get high blood pressure and diabetes for the first time during pregnancy. You can also ask about prenatal screening tests such as amniocentesis.
  • Don’t take any medications or herbal supplements without first checking with your health care provider.
  • Don’t drink alcohol, smoke or take illegal drugs.
  • Be sure to get a proper amount of exercise before, during and after your pregnancy. Ask for your health care provider’s guidance.
  • Make sure you follow a healthy diet. Eat a variety of nutritious foods.
  • Gain a healthy amount of weight.

To learn more about how to prepare for pregnancy, what to expect, and questions to ask your doctor, refer to the Vitals Pregnancy Patient Guide.

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