Most of the women try to conceive after the age of 35. A woman can indeed get pregnant after attaining 35, but obviously, risks are associated, and she has to face some challenges. The problem arises because, after the age of 35, fertility declines.
It may be challenging to get pregnant than when you were younger. Usually, a woman is most fertile in the early 20s. Typically, fertility starts decreasing faster after 30 and decreases more significantly after the age of 35. The more is your and your partner’s age, the more likely it is to take a prolonged period to conceive.
WHY DOES THE FERTILITY DECLINES?
Your ovaries have all the eggs you will ever have during birth- almost between 1 million and 2 million. By puberty, half of them get disappeared. As you grow older, the number of eggs continues to decrease. Also, the age of the eggs following your period; the older eggs do not fertilize easily.
COMPLICATIONS THAT ARISE IN PREGNANCY FOR WOMEN AGED 35 OR OLDER
1. FERTILITY PROBLEMS
Each woman is born with a large number of eggs. Every time you ovulate, you release an egg, nearly about 14 days before having a period. So the number of eggs decreases as we grow older. There are possibilities that the remaining eggs may not fertilize by the sperm. More age can be a problem for a woman if she wants to get pregnant. It is advised to recommend a doctor in a situation where you are older than 35, and you didn’t have a positive result after trying for six months to get pregnant. The physician may recommend some fertility treatments.
2. PRE-EXISTING DIABETES
Pre-existing diabetes refers to a situation of having diabetes before getting pregnant. Some women face too much sugar (also known as blood sugar or glucose) in the blood. Excessive blood sugar can affect the body’s organs, including blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys.
3. GESTATIONAL DIABETES
It is a condition in which blood sugar levels increase during pregnancy. Sometimes it affects women who have not been diagnosed ever with diabetes. Gestational diabetes generally happens during the second half of pregnancy. It is usually diagnosed after 20 weeks of gestation or close to delivery.
4. HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Women may face the problem of hypertension. High blood pressure is caused when the blood pressure against the walls of the blood vessels is usually very high.
A woman generally faces the problem of preeclampsia when she earlier had normal blood pressure, and suddenly she has high blood pressure and protein in her urine or other problems 20 weeks of pregnancy. A pregnant woman may feel that she has high blood pressure and signals that some of her organs, like kidney and liver, may not be working correctly. Signs of preeclampsia comprise having protein in the urine, changes in vision and severe headaches. Women who are at age more than 40 have high chances of having preeclampsia than young women.
HEALTH CONDITIONS MAY AFFECT THE BABY. FOLLOWING ARE THE RISKS INVOLVED:
- PREMATURE BIRTH- This happens when the baby is born before the standard period, before 37 weeks of pregnancy. It is presumed that premature babies face health issues during their birth and later in their future.
- LOW BIRTH WEIGHT- This happens when the baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds that is 8 ounces. Low birth weight makes the baby’s health very weak.
- BEING PREGNANT WITH MULTIPLES- Compared to younger women, older women have the chances to get pregnant multiples. Generally, it happens because of hormonal changes with age. Also, if a woman goes for some fertility treatments, there are possibilities that she can conceive twins, triplets or more. Getting pregnant with multiples can cause difficulties during pregnancy, such as premature birth, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and problems related to the baby’s growth.
- BIRTH DEFECTS INCLUDING DOWN SYNDROME- Congenital disabilities are referred to as the health conditions present during birth. A congenital disability modifies the shape or function of one or more parts of the body. It can cause difficulties in overall health, how the body originates or how the body functions. Usually, older women have a baby with a congenital disability as compared to younger women.
- CESAREAN BIRTH- It is also named a C-section. A C-section is a surgery where the doctor makes a cut in the belly and uterus (womb) to deliver the baby. Like every single surgery, a C-section also involves risks, like infection and reaction to anaesthesia. As you grow older, there are higher chances to face pregnancy complications that make a C-section necessary.
- MISCARRIAGE- If a woman plans to conceive after 35, there are higher risks of miscarriage. It refers to a situation when the baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of her pregnancy.
- STILLBIRTH- Conceiving a baby after attaining the age of 35 involves the risk of stillbirth. Stillbirth refers to a situation in which the baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
IF YOU ARE ABOVE THE AGE OF 35, DO YOU REQUIRE ANY SPECIAL PRENATAL TESTS?
As compared to the younger women, older women are likely to give birth to a baby with a congenital disability. So, it is recommended by the doctor that if a woman is older than 35, then she can have some prenatal tests to figure out if her baby is at any risk.
Like cell-free foetal DNA screening or maternal blood screening, screening tests check the mother’s blood to figure out if her baby is at risk for a specific congenital disability. However, a screening test does not assure that that if the baby has a congenital disability. It only finds out that if the baby might be at risk for a genetic disability.
If the screening test results reveal that the baby may be at risk for particular congenital disabilities, the mother needs to have some diagnostic tests. These tests help to figure out and give conviction if the baby has or does not have a congenital disability. These tests comprise chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HAVE A HEALTHY BABY, IF YOU ARE OLDER THAN 35?
Women of age more or less than 35 can do these things before and during their pregnancy. It can help to have a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby:
- Get a preconception check-up. Women should have a medical check to ensure that they are healthy before they get pregnant. During the check-up, you can consult your physician about your overall health, lifestyles and concerns about getting pregnant.
- If you have any health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure and depression, you should get treatment. It is best to inform your physician about the present medicines you are consuming for your health conditions. According to the recommendations of the doctor, prescriptions might be altered during pregnancy.
- Have a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid every single day. Folic acid is a vitamin that each cell in our body needs for healthy growth and development. Consuming folic acid before and during early pregnancy can help prevent congenital disabilities in the baby’s brain, and spine called neural tube defects and congenital disabilities in the baby’s mouth also called cleft lip cleft palate.
- Try to have a healthy weight. Usually, women face health difficulties such as for overweight (too much weight) or underweight (too little weight). A woman needs to consume healthy foods and do something active every day to get a healthy weight.
- Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol and using drugs to have a healthy pregnancy.
- Try to minimize your stress as much as possible. Your physician can help you find ways to minimize stress not to affect your pregnancy.
- Go for all of your prenatal care check-ups, even if you are feeling fine. Getting regular prenatal care by your doctor can help you keep a check on yourself and your growing baby. Take all the vaccinations during your pregnancy period as and when recommended by your physician.
- If you are consuming any medicine for your health conditions, inform your doctor. And in case the doctor advises you to change the medication and then change it for the safe health of the baby.
- Try to gain the right amount of weight. The amount of weight to gain during pregnancy depends on the weight you had before pregnancy. Take the advice from the doctor about how much weight you should gain during your pregnancy.
- Consume healthy foods, have prenatal vitamin and do something active every day. A healthy diet can help you get nutrients to you and your baby like calcium, folic acid, iron and vitamin D.
- Perform regular physical activity like walking to minimize discomfort and keep your strength up for childbirth. Take advice from your physician about which type of exercise you can do and what amount of activity you should perform.
Antara Chowdhury is a Content Marketer and Strategist with 6 years of experience. She is Master degree holder in Journalism and wants to explore everything she can write on.