There is a real risk in getting pregnant after the age of 35 and you should be aware of it. Sure, nowadays being 35 is not considered to be an advanced age, but on the contrary! It is a period of maturity because until the age of 30 years old, many people still study or begin their professional careers.
The length of the studying period, the difficulties in entering the work market and the professional development in the chosen career, the modest resources that make it difficult to obtain a house – have all advanced the marriage age to around the age of 25 in women and 30 in men. If you get married at 25-30 years old, you will surely also want a baby. You finally have a career, a house and a husband and there is only one piece missing from the perfect puzzle! However, the doctors insist on knowing the risks of pregnancy in women over 35 years old and they have solid reasons to do so: it is recommendable to be aware of the difficulties you may encounter. Surely this doesn’t mean giving up on the wonder of a baby or that there is no way for everything to turn out alright!
The risks of pregnancy in women over 35 highly depends on the lifestyle you have had until that age. Did you have a tiring, stressful, exhausting job with many hours over the closing time; or did you have a regular schedule and a job that developed you professionally, intellectually and emotionally? Did you have regular work-outs, an active life outdoors; or all you could do after work was sitting on the couch and watching TV?
Did you have a healthy diet or the stress and lack of time made you eat fast-food regularly? Did you have a generally quiet life, with a regular program or were there many years of partying until dawn? Did you smoke? This list of questions appears to be a real interrogatory, but you should consider these aspects and communicate them to your doctor, because all of them influenced your entire health state and physical resistance in addition to your momentary state of mind.
However, many studies show that the risk of pregnancy in women over 35 is nowadays is low due to the medical advance, but it is essential to be in a proper health state. In addition, the fertility drops naturally after the age of 35 so you might encounter difficulties in getting pregnant although you are healthy – especially if you were/are a smoker or if you were under hormone based contraceptive treatment for a long period of time.
On the other hand, one of the risks of pregnancy in women over 35 consists in the fact that if a complication occurs, it will be more severe and difficult to purge than in the case of a younger woman. This is why it is important to be perfectly informed and have a series of complete tests before trying to get pregnant.
Of course that once you got pregnant, you have to get periodical tests recommended by the doctor in order to remove all risks: fetal ultrasound, triple test (blood test that may reveal problems of the fetus’ nerve system – such as bifid spleen), screening (which may detect the presence of chromosomal anomalies), amniocentesis (which may show disorders of the neural tube, cystic fibrosis or sicklemia) or cell harvests on the chorionic villosity levels. Why are these odd tests necessary?
Which are the risks of pregnancy in women over 35?
The risk of miscarriage – in order to start with the most frightening aspect, it is true that one of the risks of getting pregnant after the age of 35 is having a spontaneous abortion (risk that increases by approximately 10% after this age). However, this may only happen if your health is not good or if an unpredicted complication occurs (you are generally let know if the risk exists).
The risk of giving birth to a baby with diverse congenital disorders, such as Down syndrome) – indeed, studies show that 1 of 100 babies born by mothers over 35 suffer from this affection caused by a deficient egg division.
The risk of pregnancies in women over 35 also consists of developing hypertension or diabetes during the pregnancy, although you used to be perfectly healthy.
Things you can do in order to diminish the risks of pregnancy
You must work much harder than other younger women in order to maintain a perfect health state. In order to do this, make sure you have a healthy and balanced diet that offers fibers, proteins, minerals and vitamins (especially calcium and vitamin C). Don’t smoke and drink at all – it is recommended to quit these habits before trying to get pregnant. Although the effect of coffee over pregnancies is still not sure, it is better to be cautious and replace coffee with black tea or eliminate caffeine completely.
Don’t forget about folic acid! Start taking supplements of folic acid and integrate this essential substance in your diet before trying to get pregnant.
Since your body will be undertaking a lot of physical effort, start a work-out program to get you into shape and, if advised by the doctor you may also do some exercise after getting pregnant.
And don’t forget: once you get pregnant, your doctor is your friend and boss – follow his/her recommendations strictly and go to consultations periodically!