Being an Older Mom

The challenge for older moms to be is that the chances of having a miscarriage increases with age.

The risk of having a miscarriage goes up as you get older. For younger women, the chance is about 15 percent. That’s about one in eight pregnancies. For women aged 35, the risks go up to about 1 in four pregnancies. At age 40, the risk is almost 1 in three.

These miscarriages are mostly caused by chromosomal problems of the embryo. Unfortunately, there is not treatment available yet for this, but the chances of your pregnancy progressing normally is greater than the chances of havin a miscarriage.

Chromosomal problems

Women, and people in general, tend to overestimate the risk of Down Syndrome. There is a lot of publicity about the increased risk of Down Syndrome at age 35, as though that it is the beginning mark for risk.

But the truth is the risk of Down Syndrome increases slowly with age. At age 35, the risk is about .5 percent. That’s more than 99 percent of fetuses without Down Syndrome. By age 45 the risk is about 3 percent. That’s still 97 percent of fetuses without Down Syndrome.

What you should do is to talk with your partner about what you would do if testing showed results a chromosomal problem. There are several testing options available. In the Unites States, women aged 35 by the time of delivery are offered genetic counseling and genetic testing.

Other risks to the baby

Advanced-age pregnancies which are chromosomally normal have very little risk of having birth defects. Although there maybe an increase in premature birth and low birthweight, but most babies born to older mothers are healthy.

Little medical risks to healthy older moms

For older moms to be, the medical risks are actually very minimal. There may be some increased risks of gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and cesarean section, but older moms to be are not risking their lives by choosing to have a baby. Some health concerns with later childbearing are related to conditions that are actually common as we get older. For instance, diabetes and hypertension. If you have these conditions, it are risks for you as well as for your baby.

The key here is to know you medical situation and how it will affect your pregnancy. This applies to both younger and older moms to be. All women should have pre-conception consultation with their doctor, especially for older women, and women with medical conditions.