With the desire to become established in a career, many women have put off having children. In fact, some women have waited until well after thirty-five to have children. They wonder about pregnancy concerns after thirty-five and whether or not waiting is good for them or any future children they may have.
Most women wonder if age affects their fertility or not.
Unfortunately, according to some researchers, fertility declines as a woman reaches and passes the age of thirty.
Some of the reasons for this decline include:
• The number of eggs produced lessens as a woman ages
• Less sex drive, therefore less opportunities to conceive
• The possibility of other gynecological problems
• A decreased number of sperm in their partner
As a general rule, pregnancy after the age of thirty-five is much safer nowadays than it has been in the past.
There may still be more complications than for a younger woman, but it is possible to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy.
Some precautions and tests may be ordered that wouldn’t be required for someone younger, but they wouldn’t be requested if they weren’t deemed necessary.
One such test attempts to identify babies with Down syndrome. In fact, the chances of birth defects such as Down syndrome does increase somewhat as a woman ages.
Normally the chance for chromosomal abnormalities is 1 in 1,400 babies born to women in their twenties.
That number increases to 1 in 100 babies born to women nearing their forties.
Women over thirty-five question whether or not there is a risk of miscarriage. According to some studies, the risk of miscarriage increases from 12%-15% for women in their twenties to 35% for women at forty. Stillbirth is also more common in women over thrity-five, as are cesarean births.
For the women themselves, there are other health issues to be concerned about.
High blood pressure and diabetes may develop in any pregnancy, but that risk increases for women over thirty-five.
This possibility of health issues in the mother is even more reason to begin prenatal visits as soon as you find out you’re pregnant.
To help reduce the complications, both to the mother and child, there are some things you can do:
• Get the recommended amount of folic acid in your diet, preferably before becoming pregnant. Eat leafy green vegetables, dried beans, and citrus fruit. Recommendations are to get at least 0.4 mg of folic acid each day.
• Don’t drink alcohol or smoke during pregnancy.
• Limit the amount of caffeine you drink to no more than 300 mg per day. That’s about two cups of coffee and a little more than three cups of black tea. Pay attention to the caffeine in soft drinks and food items such as chocolate.
• Eat a well-balanced diet. Eat or drink four servings of dairy, and at least one of vitamin C, vitamin A, and folic acid each day. Don’t forget to take your prenatal vitamins and exercise each day.
• Get plenty of sleep and rest, and try to stay free of stress.
• Above all else, make sure you attend each scheduled doctor’s appointment and follow their directions.
If you’re over thirty-five and are thinking about having children, you do have cause for concern.
However, with proper nutrition, medical care, and effort, you can have a healthy pregnancy and a beautifully healthy baby.