If you are 35 or over and considering pregnancy for the first time, you are joining an ever-growing group of contented older mothers who are rising to the different challenges that motherhood at that age requires. With advances in prenatal care, as well as the increased health awareness of older mothers, pregnancy after 35 is no longer any riskier than pregnancy at an earlier age.
High Risk ?
According to the standard list of risk factors used by your doctor, your age automatically places you in a "high risk" category. This high risk is based on statistics which show a higher rate of complications for both mother and baby in the under 20 group and the over 35 group.
Based on his or her beliefs about your risks and the baby's risks, your doctor will suggest appropriate non-invasive or invasive screening tests. On your part, you must be clear about what questions you need to have answered and the importance of prenatal testing to you personally. You may need gentle but firm persistence to get all your questions answered, and if necessary be referred to a reliable center for genetic counselling and testing. If your doctor insists on treating you like a high risk patient when you feel this is not warranted, you should attempt to find a doctor whose philosophy is more in line with your own.
Keep in mind that the majority of women in your age group experience normal labours and births. When you are likely to have only one or two children, you will only have a couple of chances to give birth your way. Remember, you are not a statistic, so don't let yourself be "psyched out" by them. Remind yourself instead that as a healthy, active woman with a positive attitude toward yourself as a woman and as a mother you can thoroughly enjoy the new and exciting process of pregnancy and birth.
Moreover, a large study (New England Journal of Medicine, Mar 8/90) of almost 4,000 women at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York showed no increased risks for the babies of older mothers. Women over 35 were no more likely to have a premature baby, or to have babies that were small for their age, or to have babies with low APGAR scores at birth (this score measures the vigour of baby at birth). Women over 35 were also no more likely than younger women to have babies die in the womb, or shortly before birth. Women over 34 were slightly more likely to have a low birth weight baby (a baby weighing under five and a half pounds, or two and a half kilograms).
In addition, in this study, although women over 35 had a higher rate of complications during pregnancy and childbirth, younger mothers had a higher rate of cesarean sections and infants who were admitted to the newborn intensive care unit.
These new findings may be partially explained by the fact that you, as an older mother, tend to be in excellent physical shape and receive good prenatal care.
Birth Defects And Age
The incidence of all chromosomal or genetic abnormalities slowly increases with age. The most common abnormality sought for causes mental retardation and is known as Down's Syndrome. Ninety five percent of cases of Down's Syndrome are age-related. At age 30, the incidence of Down's syndrome is about one in 885; at age 35, it is about one in 365 births; and at age 40 the chance of having a Down's child is about one in 109. Chromosomal abnormalities such as Down's syndrome can be ruled out through amniocentesis, keep in mind that two thirds of Down's Syndrome babies are born to women under 35.
Lose weight – diet and exercise plans