Does being older make my pregnancy high-risk?

Q: Q: I'm 37 and pregnant with my first baby. I'm healthy, but does my age make my pregnancy high-risk?

A: A: More and more women are becoming moms later in life these days. While being 35 or older does increase your chances for developing certain high-risk conditions during pregnancy, age alone doesn't mean your pregnancy's doomed to health problems.

Some of the more common conditions that may be affected by age include miscarriage, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, diabetes, placenta previa (in which the placenta covers all or part of the cervix), having a baby in the breech position (meaning the baby is feet-first instead of head-first when it's time to deliver), and possibly preterm labor. In addition, babies born to women over 35 also have a higher incidence of birth defects, having a low birth weight, and macrosomia (meaning the baby grows very large).

But before you start to panic, you should know that if you start your pregnancy in good health, get regular prenatal care and make smart lifestyle choices, there's an excellent chance that you'll experience no complications whatsoever.

Copyright 2009

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