More women are choosing to wait to have children than ever before. This is mainly due to the rising importance of women in the workforce, putting their home life on hold so they can excel on their career paths. The result is some spectacular women at work, but also women who are older then past generations by the time they have children. Is pregnancy after 35 more risky though? The answer is complicated.
The Chances of Birth Defects Rise with Older Women
The chance of chromosome based birth defects is higher in an older women. The most common of these birth defects is Down’s syndrome, but there are many others such as Triple X Syndrome and XYY Syndrome. These birth defects may cause no symptoms at all, or are so severe they lead to the death of the child.
Testing is available to screen for chromosome related birth defects, as well as genetic testing. The good news is that although chromosome related birth defects go up after 35, a 2014 study found that the risk of major physical deformities go down.
There’s a Greater Risk to You
It’s not just the baby who is more at risk. Women over 35 are more likely to need a C-Section, and the risk of pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes also go up. If you’re planning to have a child after 35, it’s very beneficial to start planning early, and to make sure the rest of your body is in perfect health in order to reduce the risk of other health issues.
There’s a Greater Risk You Might Not Conceive at All
Fertility declines as we get older. Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have, and some are shed every single time we ovulate. This monthly cycle gradually dwindles the amount of available eggs we have until there aren’t very many left at all.
By the time you are 35, you may find it more difficult to get pregnant, and the risk of miscarriage is greater due to the eggs available being of lower quality. It may also be harder for sperm to fertilize the eggs, making it that much more difficult.
If you have tried to conceive for over a year and have had no luck, you may need to consult a fertility clinic in order to successfully have a baby.
What You Can Do About It
There are greater risks to you after age 35, and also to your baby. That doesn’t mean you need to be childless the second your 35th birthday strikes, it simply means you may need more medical assistance. Before trying to conceive, have a complete physical done, and ask your doctor for any advice they may have in giving you the best chance at pregnancy. You may also want to get genetic testing done, so you can see if any children you conceive will be healthy before breaking your heart with a potentially tragic pregnancy.
While the risks do rise as you get older, plenty of healthy babies are also born to older women. Don’t let your dreams of being a parent fade because you’re a bit older than the norm, it is still possible.