There is a general misconception that getting pregnant after the age of 35 could be risky and lead to complications. Actually, if you’re a healthy person with no previous medical history, there should be no particular reason to worry or be anxious about. Advances in medical care have made it safer than ever before for women in their late 30s and 40s to have healthy pregnancies and babies. Still there are some risk factors to keep in mind if you’re considering a pregnancy after the age 35.
One of the obstacles that you may have to confront with while trying to get pregnant after 35 is the fertility factor which reduces with age. Once you are into the mid-30s, the eggs tend to decline in quality – and you may ovulate less frequently, even if you’re having regular periods. So, does this mean you can’t get pregnant? Surely not – It may only take longer. If you’re older than 35 and have been unable to conceive for six months, you might have to consult your doctor for advice.
Strangely at an age when it’s hard to get pregnant, you may end up carrying multiples, even without medical intervention! Doctors relate this to shifting hormonal changes which trigger the release of more than one egg at a time. This boosts the odds of conceiving non-identical (fraternal) twins. The use of assisted reproductive technologies – such as IVF – may also play a role. Since these procedures typically enhance ovulation, they’re more likely to result in twins or other multiples.
This type of diabetes occurs only during pregnancy, and it’s more common as women get older. I usually goes away after pregnancy. However women with gestational diabetes are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Effective control of blood sugar through diet, exercise and other lifestyle measures is essential during pregnancy. Sometimes, medication is needed as well. Women with gestational diabetes often have very large babies, making vaginal delivery tougher.
As you get older, the risks of pregnancy-related complications increase. High blood pressure, gestational diabetes and placenta previa are just some of the conditions that older moms in their mid-thirties may have to face. These problems can in turn lead to a C-section delivery. Labour also tends to be prolonged in first-time mothers older than age 35. And if you’re carrying twins or multiples, you’re most likely to need a C-section.
Risk of Chromosome Abnormalities
You may feel like you’re 25, but your eggs are not. Conception after 35 increases the higher risk of certain chromosome abnormalities in the embryo which may result in birth defects. That’s why an amniocentesis is routinely considered for women who will be 35 or older at delivery. In this test, the doctor removes a fluid sample from the amniotic sac surrounding the baby. The fluid is then examined to see if there are any chromosomal problems such as Down syndrome and to check for other conditions, such as spina bifida and other neural tube defects.
The risk of miscarriage increases dramatically as you get older – perhaps due to the higher likelihood of chromosomal abnormalities. So it is important that you visit your gynaec regularly in the first trimester to monitor your progress.
Now that you are aware of the risks and challenges you’ll face, it’s important that you also understand that most women – including those over 35 – do have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. As long as you take care of your health and your baby’s and follow your doctor’s advice, you are more likely to be one of them.
Tips & Tricks
Dieting during pregnancy can cause abnormalities and a low birth weight in your baby; therefore your ideal weight should be reached before pregnancy.
Taking folic acid in its natural form before pregnancy can prevent serious birth defects. You can find them in fruits and vegetables, fortified cereals, and enriched bread products. If you’re planning to conceive, you should consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day.
If you are on contraceptive pills, it could take a few months before your periods are regular and you begin ovulating again. It usually is best to stop the pills at the end of a cycle to avoid mid-cycle bleeding.
Before buying a home pregnancy test kit, be sure to check the expiry date. For accurate results, take the test after one week after the missed period; testing very early, can give you negative results.
Green tea and orange pekoe (popularly known as 'regular') are considered to be excellent fertility enhancers. Research has shown that women who regularly drink tea, increase their chance of conception.