Authored by Cathy L. Chambers in Pregnancy
Published on 09-16-2009
Women who put off marriage until they are established professionally, as well as the large number of second marriages account for the increase of women who become pregnant in their 40’s. The birthrate among women in this age group was higher in 2000 than in 1990. For these women, pregnancy does hold special challenges but awareness of potential problems and good medical care combined can mean a healthy pregnancy.
The first difficulty many women over 40 encounter is conceiving. Fertility declines as women age. This doesn’t mean that it is impossible – just that women over 35 in general often find it difficult. Many doctors refer to women in this age group as being of Advance Maternal Age. If for some reason after trying to conceive for a six month period you still have not conceived, consult a doctor. Infertility can be treated.
Women who are over 40 should receive good prenatal care as early possible. There is an increased risk for high blood pressure and gestational diabetes in these women. These conditions can be managed by a doctor to ensure that the mother and child remain in good health throughout the pregnancy. There is an increased risk of Down’s syndrome in infants whose mother’s are over 40. Down’s syndrome can be diagnosed before birth but can not be treated.
Improvements in medical care have increased the numbers of women over 40 who successfully deliver healthy babies. Women who are hoping to conceive should be aware that being in the best physical condition possible increases their odds. Eating a good diet, high in vitamins, calcium and iron, is essential for expectant mothers. Being deficient in Folic Acid has been linked to Neural Tube defects which affect the spinal cord and brain. Birth defects caused by poor nutrition are preventable. Exercise is also beneficial in pregnancy. Walking, the simplest and least expensive exercise regime, is very good for expectant mothers. Again, consulting a doctor is always a good idea before starting any new exercise routine.
Surf the internet for articles on getting pregnant after the age of 40 and you are likely to find pages of links to articles detailing a big variety of things that can complicate pregnancy. Reading about increased risk for miscarriage, Down’s syndrome and gestational diabetes can make the prospect of becoming pregnant daunting. It is true that there are a number of things that can complicate pregnancy. This is true for young mothers as well as more mature mothers. Young women have children with Down’s syndrome and older women deliver perfectly healthy babies.
Any woman, no matter what age needs to get the best prenatal care available to her to ensure that she and her baby are well cared for during the pregnancy. Following medically approved guidelines for healthy diet and exercise is also crucial. The idea of women in their 40’s having children is becoming more common. Better medical care is helping women start their families with fewer problems.