Pregnancy After 40
Safe pregnancy in older age
With more and more women choosing to establish careers and marry later in life, the number of older mothers is at an all-time high. If you're in good health, pregnancy over 35 and even pregnancy over 40 isn't likely to be any more complicated than it is for younger mothers, as advancements in prenatal care have made pregnancy in older age safer than it was in decades past. Even so, you should still be aware of how your age affects your fertility and proactive steps you can take to minimize your risk of complications.
Fertility in Older Mothers
Unlike men, who continue to produce new sperm throughout their adult lives, women are born with a fixed number of eggs and do not produce new ones. Over time, the quality of a woman's eggs begins to degrade, and as such, it's possible that you may experience problems getting pregnant if you decide to wait until your 30s or 40s to have a baby.
If you're having a hard time conceiving a baby, talk to your doctor. There are fertility treatments available which can boost your chances of success, from dietary interventions and hormone therapies to options like in vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination.
Features and Risks of Pregnancy in Older Age
You may not know that older mothers are more likely to get pregnant with multiple babies than younger mothers. While the reasons for this are not fully understood, it's important to be aware of the increased chance of having twins or triplets; the best thing you can do to prepare yourself for this possibility is to spend some time getting into peak physical condition after you've made the decision to try to get pregnant but before attempting to actually do so.
Because the quality of a woman's eggs declines over time, there is also an increased chance that the child will have genetic defects or chromosomal deficiencies. Certain pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, premature delivery and placental abruptions are more likely to strike older mothers as well.
Proper prenatal care will help you manage these risks, but if you're pregnant in older age, it's even more important to take good care of yourself. Quitting smoking, eliminating alcohol and caffeine, taking prenatal vitamins, getting regular exercise and eating a nutrient-rich, balanced diet are all measures you can take to minimize the risks inherent to pregnancy in older age.