In the US, more and more women are deciding to have children later in life. Of course, as women wait until their mid-to-late 30s or even 40s to have children some certain risks and complications are more likely to occur during pregnancy. Women who become pregnant at or over the age of 35 years old are considered advanced maternal age (or a geriatric pregnancy). In these pregnancies, your OBGYN may deem you high risk, as certain issues are more likely to occur in older pregnant women over the age of 35.
Okay, so you just turned 35 years old. Should you be concerned about getting pregnant?
Well, not necessarily. It isn’t like everything changes overnight. OBGYNs have been providing care to pregnant women of all ages so they know that when it comes to assessing risk everyone’s needs are different. Just because a woman is 35 years old doesn’t necessarily mean that she will face challenges during pregnancy.
A lot of it has to do with her genetics, medical history, and current health. Women in their 30s and 40s who are in great health may not ever face complications or problems, but it’s still important to recognize these risks ahead of time so that you and your OBGYN can find ways to prevent them from happening.
Your Health is Key to Conception (and a Healthy Pregnancy)
Your health is going to play one of the biggest factors in conceiving after age 35; however, it is important to note that the number of eggs your body produces does decrease with age. The decline occurs in the early 30s with a more serious decline after 37 years old. So, does this mean that you won’t be able to conceive naturally?
Not necessarily. Some women can still easily become pregnant in their early 40s; however, if you’ve been trying to conceive for several months and you’re having trouble, it may be time to talk with your OBGYN.
Possible Complications in Advanced Maternal Age
Women who get pregnant after 35 years old are more at risk for developing certain complications such as high blood pressure or gestational diabetes. Pregnant women over 35 years old are also more likely to face ectopic pregnancies, Down syndrome and other genetic disorders, stillbirth, and preeclampsia.
It’s important to speak with your OBGYN if you are trying to conceive, as certain tests can be performed to check for chromosomal and genetic abnormalities. You may also need to come in more regularly for checkups throughout your pregnancy.
If you are thinking about becoming pregnant and you are over the age of 35, it’s a good idea to speak with your OBGYN to find out if there are certain things you can do before becoming pregnant to keep you healthy and less likely to face complications. Your OBGYN is going to be an integral part of the care you receive both before, during, and after your pregnancy.