Happy Pregnancies For Most Over-Forties

For many years, the talk was about having babies in one's thirties. Then, all of the sudden, the issues related to having a baby after thirty somehow shifted and became about having babies after forty. If women were all concerned about infertility and pregnancy complications related to over-thirties, are these issues exacerbated by becoming forty or older? Is there any more necessity for angst about an over-forty pregnancy than for an over-thirty one? Is it selfish for you to want to have a baby at an age considered advanced for conception and gestation?

Careful Investigation

All of these issues bear careful investigation, but the reality is that women are no longer defined by marriage and motherhood. They focus on careers and feel no necessity to get hitched, but then they realize their time is running out for having kids. You can get married any time, but the same is not true of having biological children. The realization that the sands of time are about to empty for good can send you into a panicky tailspin.

Meantime, maybe you want children, some time, some day, but you're still not ready and you're in your thirties. Can you wait until you're in your forties? How long can you wait? Because things are different than they were in your mom's generation a woman's biology is no longer synchronized with modern lifestyles.

To comfort yourself and provide some hope, you may find yourself seizing on magazine reports of famous people who have had (healthy) babies in their forties. Take Geena Davis. She had twins at the age of 48. Meantime, Cherie Booth—wife of Tony Blair—had a child at 45. Are these isolated cases numerous enough to make you hold off and take the plunge at a later age?

Contributory Factors

It pays to take a look at why the age of 35 became the cut-off line for high-risk pregnancies. Past president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that the risks in pregnancy increase with the age of the mother but that there are other contributory factors besides age. "I've cared for 20-year-olds who were at far greater risks for problem pregnancies than were their 40-year-old counterparts. The majority of pregnancies over 35 and even over 40 go just great, but they do need more attention and diagnostic procedures."

That's welcome news for hope-to-be-moms who are still not quite ready. Women who become pregnant past the age of 35 are part of a major, fast-growing demographic in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that between the years 1970-2003 the birth rate in women between the ages of 35 and 39 increased by over 38%.  In Canada 48% of all births in the year 2003 were attributed to women past the age of thirty.

The good news is that women over thirty are now having fewer complications, as doctors and patients familiarize themselves with the issues and learn to overcome or prevent them. That makes it ever more attainable to shoot for an over-forty pregnancy. It's all a matter of beating the biological clock, and we seem to be getting better at that sport, all the time.

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