Age matters in pregnancy. The older you are, the more challenges you may face. Many women over 35 have normal pregnancies and normal deliveries, but statistics show that more problems arise when you're an older mother.
For example, older women are more likely to have chronic health problems such as high blood pressure, heart and kidney problems, autoimmune diseases, and type 2 diabetes, which complicate pregnancy. They also have a higher risk of having a miscarriage or a baby with a genetic disorder. In addition, older women tend to tire more quickly than younger women, although a healthy diet and a regular fitness regimen can be energizing.
Older mothers are usually offered more tests during pregnancy, including amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling. Age makes a difference in the delivery room too. Cesarean delivery rates go up in the over-35 set for a variety of reasons.
Finally, older mothers are more likely than younger mothers to have conceived with the help of assisted reproductive technology because fertility rates fall as women age. These pregnancies are more likely to require close monitoring and cesarean delivery than naturally conceived babies.
This gray cloud does have a silver lining, however. Mothers over 35 have accumulated more life experience and are often more financially secure than younger women, both of which come in handy when you're raising a child.
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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