The body is ready to have babies. Nature wants it done then, when the body can handle it, not after 40, when the income can handle it.
This quote resonates with me for two reasons. One – I’m dating, and meeting men who don’t have children and want children (#@!*&% ₩%), and two – I know quite a few women who have had babies over the age of 35. Closer to 40, in fact – and I know one woman who is expecting her first child at age 44.
Of course Halle Berry just had a baby – at the tender age of 46, but what are the implications for ‘older’ moms and their babies?
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the risks include:
Infertility: The chance of getting pregnant in any given month decreases as you age, and the risk of miscarriage rises.
Increased risk of genetic abnormalities: As women age, their eggs do not divide as well, which could lead to genetic problems, the most common genetic disorder being Down syndrome, which causes intellectual disability and defects of the heart and other organs. The risk is still relatively low, but it goes up significantly at age 35 and older.
Loss of Pregnancy: Women older than 35 have a higher risk of miscarriage than younger women. For a woman over 40, the risk more than doubles compared to a woman in her 20s and early 30s. Most of the time, these miscarriages result from chromosomal abnormalities, and these abnormalities are more likely in women over 35.
Health problems during pregnancy: Common medical conditions in women over 40 include diabetes and high blood pressure.
Labor Problems: The risk for having labor problems increases for women over 35 and even more for women over 40 who are having their first child. Studies have shown that older women have a greater chance of prolonged second stage labor and fetal distress.
Multiple Births: The incidence of having twins or triplets is increased in later life pregnancy even without infertility drugs. Multiple-birth pregnancies are considered higher risk.
OUTLOOK for Moms Over 35
Despite higher risk for complications, the majority of older women have healthy babies. And once women are educated about potential pregnancy risks, they can more readily focus on your focus on things like proper nutrition and diet, good prenatal care, and preparation for a new addition. I.e preparing emotionally and financially for life change.
Ultimately, having a baby at 35+, or 18, or 25, is a personal decision for potential parents. Obviously what’s good for one person for one person, may not be good for another.
Having children later in life is also a quality of life concern. For women who have already raised children, the question becomes ‘are my 40s and beyond a time I want spend raising more children (or my first child)?, or do I want to do things I may have put off before (travel, pursuit of personal passions, etc.) for childcare of financial reasons? Or do I want to usher in new life and start a new phase with a newborn?
Friends encourage me to “have a baby for love” if I meet a man who sweeps me off my feet. While I consider that a sacrifice (even though emotional intimacy and love makes you think and feel some crazy things), they consider it a compromise. Call me selfish, but I’m not up for strollers at the mall, or weekends at home because I have no babysitter, or sleepless nights spent tending a baby, etc. I’m fertile and highly capable, but I’ve been there and done that. (And I do have rare moments when my maternal instinct kicks in and I ponder the possibilities, but lawd knows – I’ve been through too much stress already.)
Per my friend Dana who is an educator for autistic children:
If you’re 35 and over and realize that may be your situation and you are more than ready to handle that and love that child unconditionally, GO FOR IT!
I don’t disagree with her.
Adoption is also an option. There are plenty of loving and able individuals, under and over 40, who are willing to provide loving homes to children who would not otherwise have one. Is that different than a woman opting to give birth to the child herself? Would she be going against nature?
What are your views on this issue? Is it an act of selfishness, or an act of love – or nobody’s business what women choose to do with their bodies when it comes to pregnancy over the age of 35?
Source: Later Age Pregnancy | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/pregnancy/specialcare-pregnancies/later-age-pregnancy#ixzz2iPzY4cdR
University of Maryland Medical Center