Concerns of Pregnancy after Thirty

Medical science is moving onward and upward and that is good news for women over the age of 35 who yearn to have a baby. Even so, it pays to become familiar with the associated risks for pregnancy in women over 35 so you can be ready to cope with any and all complications.

Preexisting Medical Conditions

It is common for women in their 30s and 40s to have chronic health problems, like diabetes or high blood pressure. It is important to get these conditions under control before becoming pregnant, since they can pose a danger to both mother and unborn baby. Risks associated with these conditions can be greatly reduced through careful medical monitoring beginning before conception and continuing throughout pregnancy.

Chromosomal Abnormalities

There is a higher risk for women over the age of 35 to give birth to a child with a birth defect. As a woman ages, her eggs age also, and the frequency of abnormal division of the egg, called nondisjunction, leads to unequal chromosomes when the division is ended. The age traditionally considered to be the norm for women to be at high risk for chromosomal abnormalities is 35. There are tests that are available to help detect disorders before, during, and after pregnancy. However, many times the tests are inconclusive, so the decision to take the test should not be embarked upon lightly.

Pregnancy loss or miscarriage

Up to half of all first trimester miscarriages occur as a response to fetal chromosomal abnormalities. The overall rate of miscarriage during pregnancy is 15%. After the age of 40, the incidence for miscarriage almost doubles. There is also a significant increase in the number of stillbirths in over-forty pregnancies, which tend to result from a combination of preexisting medical conditions that impact on pregnancy and birth defects.

Complications of labor and delivery

Most of the complications of labor and delivery in the over forty crowd can be resolved through Cesarean delivery. The most frequent complications in women over the age of 40 are:

*Early labor

*Placenta previa

*Early separation of the placenta resulting in hemorrhage

*The presence of meconium in the amniotic fluid

*Postpartum hemorrhage

*Abnormal presentation (malpresentation)

Multiple Births

Later-life pregnancies have a higher incidence for multiple births, even where fertility drugs were not in use. Multiple births are, by nature, considered to be 

high risk.

Reducing Risk

There are important steps you can take to reduce the risk for the many complications of pregnancy, though some complications are unavoidable. Here are some proactive steps you can take to increase the likelihood of a healthy mother and baby:

Preconception care-See your doctor before you become pregnant. Your doctor can determine any preexisting maternal medical conditions and factor this into your prenatal care once you are pregnant. Your doctor can also assess your personal risk and advise you against becoming pregnant if the risks are high. In most cases, good prenatal care can forestall any perceived risks.

Prenatal care - The first eight weeks are especially critical in your baby's development. Early and regular prenatal care (health care during pregnancy) can increase your chances of having a healthy baby. Regular appointments with your health care provider throughout your pregnancy are important to monitor your health and prevent or control any problems that develop during pregnancy. In addition to medical care, prenatal care includes education on pregnancy and childbirth, plus counseling and support.

Health tune-up-Before you get pregnant, get healthy. Quit smoking, and quit drinking alcohol and caffeine. Eat a balanced diet and start taking prenatal vitamins. Be sure to get enough folic acid in your diet, both through food and by taking a daily supplement. This critical supplement is key in preventing neural tube damage in the baby. Get moderate exercise. These common sense actions are the best way to end up with a healthy mother and child.

Good health prior and during pregnancy will help you reduce your risk of complications.


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