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 Having a baby after 35 what are the risks?

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Sarah
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PostSubject: Having a baby after 35 what are the risks?   14th September 2007, 1:02 am

Taken from babycentre

What are the risks of having a baby after the age of 35?




The BabyCentre Editorial Team answers:
Overall, the risks faced by women over 35 during pregnancy have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, many recent well-designed studies have shown that in healthy women, the risks of delaying pregnancy are minimal. Actually, what's most important is the health of the mother before she conceives. That's good news, because it's something you can control. Any woman considering getting pregnant should probably meet with her doctor or midwife for a thorough examination. A detailed medical and family history of both prospective parents can identify conditions that might affect the health of mother and baby.

That said, older women are more likely to have or develop certain medical conditions during pregnancy, such as diabetes, hypertension, and placenta praevia (when the placenta lies low in the uterus, partly or completely covering the cervix). As these conditions may have serious consequences for your pregnancy, they require closer monitoring and may place limitations on your diet.

Another problem is that the odds of having a baby with a genetic defect increase as you get older. For example, the risk of Down's syndrome rises from one in 885 at age 30 to one in 365 at age 35, one in 109 at age 40, and one in 32 at age 45. If you're almost, or over 40, you should strongly consider genetic testing because the risk of genetic problems increases significantly.

Because chromosomal abnormalities are the most common reason for miscarriage, the risk of miscarriage also increases with age. Lastly, most studies show an increased risk of needing to deliver by caesarean section for women over 35, though the exact reasons are not clear.

The biggest obstacle for women over the age of 35 may be getting pregnant. A woman hits her peak fertility between the ages of 20 and 24. In women aged 35 to 39, fertility is at least one quarter less. And in women aged 40 to 45, the chances of becoming pregnant are 95 per cent less than those of a woman in her twenties. Even with infertility treatments such as in vitro fertilisation, women have more problems conceiving as they age.

Once you've considered these issues, you can concentrate on the same things that should accompany a healthy pregnancy at any age: good antenatal care, proper diet, emotional and financial preparation for the child you'll care for over the next 18 years.

Many women who have delayed pregnancy until they're over 35 are surprised to find that, given generally good health, they're not much more likely than younger women to have serious complications, and the vast majority end up having healthy babies.
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