Record numbers of women are becoming pregnant later in life. Some will be first-time mothers, while others are having another child. Older mothers may be more financially stable or settled in their careers. They also may feel better able to care for a baby than a young mother would. But do older mothers and their babies face additional risks?
What to Watch For
Research confirms most women who become pregnant in their 30s and early 40s have safe, healthy pregnancies. But they do face a higher risk for problems.
Starting in their early 30s, women become less fertile, and it may take them longer to get pregnant.
Women older than age 35 have a higher risk for diabetes and high blood pressure during pregnancy.
Women ages 35 to 45 have a 20 to 35 percent chance for miscarriage, and women older than 45 have up to a 50 percent chance. For younger women, the rate is between 10 and 25 percent.
Plan for Good Prenatal Care
Keep in mind that advances in medical care for both mother and baby can help prevent and treat many of the risks faced by women older than age 30.
Early and regular prenatal care is key to having a healthy baby at any age. And it’s important to make sure you’re in good health before and during your pregnancy.
A nutritious diet can help promote the baby’s growth. And it’s best to avoid cigarettes and alcohol, which can harm the baby.
Discuss any pregnancy plans with your doctor, who can identify any special needs you may have and help make suggestions. Together, you and your doctor can help make pregnancy and motherhood wonderful experiences.
Lutheran provides a range of prenatal care and birthing options, including high-risk care. To learn more, click here.