I’m over age 35. Is it too late for Pregnancy?
If you’re considering pregnancy after age 35, you’re part of a growing trend. More women are choosing to postpone motherhood and start or add to their families later in life.
It’s no secret that pregnancies later in life pose higher risks than those occurring before age 35. Getting pregnant in your mid-thirties, over even later, means that you will need extra attention, support, and resources to thrive during your pregnancy journey.
If you’re considering pregnancy after age 35, we can help you understand the special considerations that might apply and provide you with the support needed to achieve a healthy outcome.
Understanding the Risks
Problems can arise no matter how old you are when you get pregnant. But some become more likely when you hit 35, including:
- Infertility or difficulty getting pregnant
- High blood pressure, which can lead to preeclampsia (dangerously high blood pressure in pregnancy)
- Gestational diabetes
- Miscarriage and stillbirth
- Labor problems that require you to have a C-section
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Chromosomal abnormalities in the baby like Down Syndrome
Despite common misconceptions, many women over age 35 have normal pregnancies and deliver healthy, full-term babies. Depending on your fertility and overall health, it is possible that you can too. Here’s how to give yourself the best chance of getting pregnant and having a healthy baby after age 35.
Schedule a pre-pregnancy visit
Ensure that you’re in the best health possible before trying to get pregnant. Scheduling a pre-pregnancy visit with your provider can reduce your risk of developing conditions that can complicate your pregnancy and the health of your baby. It’s also a good time to address any questions and concerns. During this visit, we review your family history, medical history, past pregnancies, existing medical conditions, and medications. We also discuss your diet, lifestyle, and weight and make any modification recommendations.
Understand the facts about complications
Certain behaviors can reduce your risk of complications. Women over age 35 could increase their chances of having a positive pregnancy and birth outcome by taking the following precautions:
- Attending all recommended prenatal checkups
- Taking prenatal vitamins and following a healthy lifestyle throughout the entire pregnancy
- Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet including fruits, veggies, lean meats, grains, and dairy
- Maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy
- Exercising regularly
- Treating chronic conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes
- Treating problems, like gestational diabetes, that begin during pregnancy
- Considering optional tests for women over 35 such as genetic screening and increased antenatal testing
Don’t delay seeking fertility help
Many women get pregnant without planning or help after age 35, but overall, your ability to become pregnant starts to decline at age 30 and continues to diminish with increasing speed until you reach menopause. If you’re over age 35 and haven’t become pregnant after six months of unprotected intercourse, seek medical advice regarding infertility services. The earlier you pursue medical advice and begin fertility treatments, the greater your chances of achieving pregnancy. If you have known medical conditions that could interfere with natural conception, such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids, seek medical advice earlier.
Find out about genetic testing
Because older women are more likely than younger women to have a baby with chromosomal abnormalities, you will be offered genetic testing during the first trimester of your pregnancy to see if your baby is at risk. Non-invasive prenatal screening tests check your blood to see if your baby is at risk for certain birth defects. A screening test doesn’t tell you for sure if your baby has any abnormalities. It only tells if your baby may be at risk for a birth defect. If your screening tests show an increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities, you will be offered diagnostic testing for confirmation.
Despite the risks, most women aged 35 and older can have a normal, healthy pregnancy with few birth complications. The team at Premier Obstetrics and Gynecology are dedicated to providing the highest-quality prenatal care to ensure that you have the added support that you need.
Premier OB-Gyn is accepting new patients in both our Maitland, FL and Oviedo, FL locations. We would be happy to see you! Please call 321-397-1212 or visit www.premierob-gyn.com to book your appointment!