Pregnancy After 35
Glancing through the calendar, counting the weeks until her due date, Claudia’s gaze fell upon a highlighted celebration. Her birthday! She’ll be 38 when the baby is expected to arrive this side of the earth. “Thirty-eight.” She thought to herself. Claudia was the last of her peer friends having a baby. In fact, the youngest baby in her girlfriend group was enjoying their first year of Kindergarten. “I’ll be 43 by the time this little bug is heading into Kindergarten.” She chuckled. Claudia heard she was considered “older” by society’s standards, but she also felt the best she’s ever felt. She loved her career, she was in a loving healthy relationship, and her doctor gave her a clean bill of health. More so, Claudia felt it was finally the right time in her life. Claudia’s pregnancy after 35 was going to be something she hoped to inspire others with.
Advanced Maternal Age (AMA)
When an individual becomes pregnant at the age of 35 or older, this is called Advanced Maternal Age. Although there’s no magical mystical door that one wanders through that welcomes with a big red “X”; there are some physical aspects that may occur when expecting later in life. Being of advanced maternal age or AMA, can have benefits as well as risks. Every “body” is different, and every body will adapt to pregnancy differently. One thing is for certain, do not be afraid to take that walk into parenthood because of age alone.
Many pregnant individuals over 35 years of age have healthy pregnancies and deliver healthy baby’s well into their 30s and even into their 40s.
Benefits to Waiting Until Later in Life to Have a Baby
As more and more families wait until “later in life” to welcome little pitter-patters in their lives, this can be for a myriad of reasons. No matter what the reason, it’s the decision of that individual. As generations go by, there are shifts in first-time maternal age patterns.
Stability in career and life is one benefit to waiting to have a baby for some. The feeling of checking off accomplished goals, and providing for a family can be a settling. Being “ready” to have a baby, brings a sense of foundation for the realm of uncertainties that pregnancy and babies bring.
Life throws curveballs and fast balls, and being in a mindset that you can tackle anything that gets pitched your way, is a part of having a “mature mindset.” Stepping back and focusing on what’s important, and what’s not.
Multiples have a higher statistical rate in pregnancies after 35 years old. Starting a family, or adding to your family at AMA brings the possibility of gestating multiples naturally and/or with the help of fertility treatments. This can be an added desire for those looking to expand their family tree, without enduring multiple pregnancies.
Pregnancy after 35 isn’t doom or gloom. Societal shifts occur all the time, and the average age of first-time mothers in the US shifts decade to decade. Today the average age of first-time mothers is 26, while worldwide the average age is 31.
Concerns Providers may have Based on Maternal Age
With every benefit, there are also the possibility of risks. Discussing the pregnancy health risks with your provider is one way to curb anxieties regarding pregnancy after 35. One concern at AMA is pregnancy loss. One-in-four pregnancies will end in a miscarriage. At advanced maternal age, the rate increases 20%, and around 80% after age 40. High blood pressure is another concern with AMA. High blood pressure in pregnancy is known to cause premature labors, and/or low birth weights.
Gestational diabetes is the occurrence of diabetes brought on by pregnancy. This typically goes away after delivery, and is caused by high blood sugars. There is a glucose test that occurs between 24 and 28 weeks pregnant, to determine if GD is present.
There is a higher risk of chromosome abnormalities in pregnancies of AMA.These abnormalities include (for example): Down Syndrome, Cleft lip, and Trisomy 18. Statistically, 1 in 150 babies are born with a chromosomal disorder.
Support/Resources for Pregnancy After 35
A high-risk obstetrician is versed in aiding those of AMA in preparing for a healthy pregnancy. Routine monitoring and screening are conducted every appointment throughout the pregnancy. Non-stress tests, and additional ultrasounds are also a part of high-risk obstetrician care.
Sometimes that yearning for motherhood is there, and the body is not catching up to that desire. A fertility center is a resource to assist families in experiencing pregnancy. Through IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), IUI (Intrauterine Insemination), or surrogacy, many individuals of AMA are able to enjoy a pregnancy.
The number of first-time mothers conceiving and having a baby over the age of 35 has almost tripled since that of the 1970s. There are personal, economical, and preferential reasons why one would experience a pregnancy after 35. Whatever that reason may be, it’s personal and precious. Vegas Family Doulas client’s are on average are advanced maternal age. VFD VIPS relish in our excellence in professionalism, while understanding the value of our service and expertise.
Age had never been anything but a number to Claudia. While this pregnancy wasn’t exactly planned out, a pregnancy was never off the table in her mind. She enjoyed every ounce of living in her 20s and 30s, and now close to entering her 4th decade of life, this pregnancy gave Claudia a different perspective. Claudia knew that she wasn’t going to be alone through this journey, and she had an abundance of support with her circle.