considering pregnancy after 35? Understand the issues for
older mothers — and know what it takes to have a healthy
older than 35 and hoping to get pregnant, you’re in good
company. Many women are delaying pregnancy well into their 30s
and beyond — and delivering healthy babies. Taking special
care can help give your baby the best start.
biological clock is a fact of life, but there’s nothing
magical about age 35. It’s simply an age at which various
risks become more discussion-worthy. For example:
might take longer to get pregnant. You’re born with a
limited number of eggs. As you reach your mid- to late 30s,
your eggs decrease in quantity and quality. An older woman’s
eggs also aren’t fertilized as easily as a younger woman’s
eggs. If you’re older than 35 and haven’t been able to
conceive for six months, consider asking your health care
provider for advice.
more likely to have a multiple pregnancy. The chance of having
twins increases with age. The use of assisted reproductive
technologies — such as in vitro fertilization — also can
play a role.
more likely to develop gestational diabetes. This type of
diabetes, which occurs only during pregnancy, is more common
as women get older. Tight control of blood sugar through diet
and physical activity is essential. Sometimes medication is
needed, too. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause a
baby to grow significantly larger than average — which
increases the risk of injuries during delivery.
more likely to develop high blood pressure during pregnancy.
Research suggests that high blood pressure that develops
during pregnancy is more common in older women. Your health
care provider will carefully monitor your blood pressure and
your baby’s growth and development. You might need to take
medication or deliver your baby before your due date to avoid
more likely to have a low birth weight baby and a premature
birth. Premature babies, especially those born earliest, often
have complicated medical problems.
might need a C-section. Older mothers have a higher risk of
pregnancy-related complications that might lead to a C-section
delivery, such as placenta previa — a condition in which the
placenta blocks the cervix.
risk of chromosome abnormalities is higher. Babies born to
older mothers have a higher risk of certain chromosome
problems, such as Down syndrome.
risk of pregnancy loss is higher. The risk of pregnancy loss
— by miscarriage and stillbirth — increases as you get
older, perhaps due to pre-existing medical conditions or fetal
chromosomal abnormalities. Ask your health care provider about
monitoring your baby’s well-being during the last weeks of
further research is needed, studies suggest that a man’s age
at the time of conception — his paternal age — also might
pose health risks for his children.