Pregnant Over 35: Risks and Precautions

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Women have always been told that the longer they wait to get pregnant, the more risks they are subjected to. However, as modern medicine continues to advance and more women are in a position where they are able to wait, a pregnancy after age 34 may not be as risky as we once thought.

Despite what you may have heard, you can have a healthy pregnancy if you are 35 years old or older – you just need to know your risks and take a few extra precautions to ensure both you and your baby are healthy from conception to delivery.

Advanced Maternal Age

Life doesn’t always go as planned. You may have thought you would have been married with kids by the age of 25, but unexpected events often throw life plans off course. Next thing you know, you’re 35 years old, pregnant with your first baby, and your doctor is grouping you in the “advanced maternal age” category. You are not alone, though. More and more women are choosing to focus on their careers and personal goals before embarking on the journey of motherhood.

An expecting woman is classified to be of advanced maternal age when she is 35 or older at the time at of delivery, and while there are risks, they are much more substantial in women 40 and over. Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce your risks and deliver a happy and healthy baby. One of these  include non invasive prenatal screening , a simple, risk free method of testing the baby for genetic dosorders.

What are the Risks of Having a Baby after 35?

Every pregnancy comes with associated risks. For women 35 and older, these risks are more likely and should be discussed thoroughly with your doctor.

Longer to Conceive

As women age, their fertility rates begin to decline, making it harder for them to get pregnant. Women are born with a limited number of eggs, and over time the quantity and quality of their unfertilized eggs continues to decrease. When your egg’s quality is low, it is more likely to take you longer to conceive and you are at a higher risk of having a miscarriage or delivering a baby with a genetic disorder.

Multiples are More of a Possibility

Pregnant women who are 35 or older have a higher chance of having a pregnancy with multiples. This could be for a couple different reasons. The first being as your hormones change with age, your body could release multiple eggs at the same time. Additionally, multiples are more of a possibility because women 35 or older are more likely to seek assistance in getting pregnant.

Increased Risk for Complications

If you are expecting a child and you are 35 or older, you are more likely to experience complications throughout your pregnancy. It is common for older women to develop gestational diabetes, a condition that is the result of their bodies not being able to produce enough insulin. It is also common for women of advanced maternal age to develop high blood pressure, which can be serious and lead to serious conditions such as pre-eclampsia and eclampsia if not addressed. Fortunately, if you have one of these conditions and seek proper medical intervention, it’s still possible to deliver a healthy baby.

Tips to Increase Chances of Having a Healthy Baby after 35

While the thought of having a baby later in life may seem risky, if you are careful and take the right precautions now, chances are you both will be fine.

Preconception appointment

If you and your partner are ready to have a baby, it is a good idea to set up a preconception appointment with your doctor even before you get pregnant. This is especially true if you’re 35 or older. A preconception appointment is the perfect opportunity to discuss your individual risks, concerns and questions about conceiving and pregnancy. Your doctor can also help you increase your chances of conceiving with helpful tips and professional advice.

Prenatal Care

Attending your regular prenatal appointments is extremely important as it gives your doctor ample opportunity to monitor the health of both you and your baby.  Not only will these appointments help give you peace of mind, they will also give you the chance to address any symptoms or concerns that may develop throughout your pregnancy. You can also use these appointments to talk to your doctor about prenatal screening, pregnancy do’s and don’ts and childbirth.

Screen for Chromosomal Conditions

As an older mum, you are more likely to deliver a baby with a chromosomal condition like Down syndrome. Fortunately, there are noninvasive tests that can screen for these conditions and determine your risk as early as your 9th week of pregnancy. The Claria NIPT is India’s most accurate prenatal screening test and can be completed with just a small sample of blood from the mother. Since screening poses no risk to the mother or baby, more women, especially those 35 years old or older, are opting for this test to get the reassurance they need about their pregnancy.

If you’re pregnant over the age of 35, you don’t have to worry. Our expert genetic counsellors are available to walk you through this journey and answer any questions you may be having.

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