Times are changing and with that the priorities are changing too! Women are beginning to prioritise professional careers and life at large over starting a family and having babies. Which means, more and more women today are opting to have babies later in life ie: post 35 and 40 years of age. Being Pregnant at 40 however, has its own share of advantages and disadvantages.
- Older mothers are more compassionate towards their babies.
- They are wiser as they have experience and make better nutritional choices for their children
- They usually have more solid marriages
- Women at 40 are financially more stable and likely to earn higher salaries
- These mothers live longer than women who have their children in their twenties.
- The chances of getting pregnant post 40 decrease as you get older and your risk of having a miscarriage rises.
- There is an increased risk of genetic disorders (chromosomal abnormalities) and the need for more tests during pregnancy to detect them.
- Progesterone, a reproductive hormone that’s given to women during IVF and is also present at high levels during pregnancy, causes both blood pressure and cholesterol levels, to temporarily go up.
- Be aware of the possibility of multiple births as they are considered higher risk.
- Gestational diabetes, a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy almost always goes away after delivery, but it can be a cause of diabetes later in life and puts women at risk for delivering a large baby.
- If you are going into pregnancy with borderline high blood pressure or cholesterol, which many older women have, it can pose a serious problem.
- C-section rate is significantly higher than that of younger moms as older women have older uteruses, which tend to not contract as well, which can result in abnormal labor.
- Once you are 40, risk of placental problems like placenta previa, placental abruption shoots up. This can cause severe vaginal bleeding and activate premature labor.
- The uterus grows rapidly in these nine months, which requires an enormous level of blood flow. Chances of contracting vascular diseases is more likely post 40, whether it’s in the heart or in the vagina, and it gets increasingly difficult as a woman gets older for her uterus to keep up with the rapid growth of pregnancy.
- Pregnant women in their 40’s have a greater chance of prolonged second stage labor and fetal distress. This increases the likelihood of an assisted vaginal delivery or a C-section. Older women also have a higher risk of stillbirth.
- Babies are likely to have birth defects due to egg quality or with the fact that older women may have undiagnosed and untreated diabetes or hypertension, which could affect growth and contribute to birth defects.
- Discuss getting pregnant with your doctor and how the pregnancy and childbirth might affect your current medical condition.
- Lead a healthy lifestyle to help your fertility.
- While modern medicine can help you get pregnant, it cannot guarantee a smooth and safe road to delivery. There are undeniable health risks to pregnancy in the pre and postmenopausal years, risks that often are not revealed to 40 years and plus women, hoping to get pregnant.
- If you are in your 40s and considering pregnancy, it is critical to be proactive and get a thorough screening to rule out hidden heart disease or diabetes.
- If you do have existing medical conditions (e.g., high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disease, obesity) – get them into a stable, controlled state before you conceive.
- All women in this age group must get their blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels checked, as well as an echocardiogram (EKG) before trying to get pregnant.
- Start taking prenatal vitamins with folic acids well before you get pregnant.
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