In life, people often take different routes but are capable of ending up on the same page, regardless of the struggles or complications along the way. Take an example of careers; one could get a head start by one chance or another, and someone else might suffer for the longest time before even getting a shot at what they had in mind at the beginning of their journey. This is not different in the case of starting a family and having a baby. Some women have their first baby in their twenties, while others prefer to wait a few years, or even decades, to take the step forward. Likewise, a mother at the age of 50 could have three, four, five kids while another woman might be discovering the joys of motherhood at the curve of the sixth decade of her life.
Each woman should feel free to set her own clocks and manage her body and life the way she wanted it to be, regardless of what anybody else thinks or believes. Nonetheless, there has been some scientific and medical evidence as to the possibility of an increased risk of pregnancy and labor complications in mothers approaching, at, or over the age of fifty. The changes and pressure of the body of a fifty year old can sometimes pose a threat to the health of the mother and the baby, depending on many factors such as the overall health of the mother, her lifestyle, and medical history.
15 Low Statistics
The quality of the job performed by the ovaries and the eggs diminishes slowly after the age of forty, leaving women with less and less opportunities for naturally occurring pregnancies. In fact, a study shows that women over the age of forty have a likelihood of 5 percent of getting pregnant naturally; that is without the aid of technology, IVF, or donation. These statistics pave the way for one to imagine what the numbers look like for a woman in her fifties, rather than in her forties.
Generally, women approaching the age of fifty start to experience signs of menopause, or pre-menopause. Some women have already reached the stage of menopause as soon as they had crossed the mark of forty or forty-five years of age. Of course, if by any chance fertilization occurs naturally, the eggs would not be functioning completely and the uterus would not be as strong to handle the weight of a baby.
14 Oldest Mothers
As women approach the end of their forties and fifties, some of them start to take on desperate measures to insure a final, or first, pregnancy before all hope goes out. Taking an extra shot or two of estrogen, IVF, egg donations, and the list goes on and on of the possible resorts women tend to run to. In fact, in Britain, more than twenty babies are born to mothers over fifty years of age through a combination of IVFs and donor eggs.
The oldest verified mother, Omkari Panwar, was seventy years of age when she gave birth to her twins. Another mom, Adriana Iliescu was younger by only 130 days, and gave birth to a baby girl in 2005. On the other hand, the oldest mother to conceive naturally without the aid of technology or donation is Dawn Brooke, who conceived at the age of 59 while taking doses of estrogen.
Statistics have shown that not only is getting pregnant problematic at an older age, but also keeping the baby. Doctors describe getting pregnant over the age of thirty-eight as “half the battle”, only. The risk for having a miscarriage increases dramatically from around 25 percent in mothers in their twenties and early thirties to a just about 75 percent in mothers over the age of thirty-eight. Of course, these numbers consistently rise as the age of the mother increases, one year after another.
Nowadays, blood tests are available to determine the likelihood of having a successful pregnancy and delivery based on the age, hormonal levels, and the status of the uterus and the eggs to give a mother some degree of realism to their expectations of a completely healthy pregnancy and baby. However, most women are exposed to higher risks of miscarriages related to age, aside from the fact that it is as difficult to get pregnant in the first place.
12 Baby With Down Syndrome
Mothers over the age of 35 increase their baby’s chance of developing Down syndrome. Doctors and studies have shown that women over the age of 35 account for more than 50 percent of all births with Down syndrome. In fact, the rates for a woman over this mark of age to deliver a baby suffering from this condition is just about 1 in 100 births. However, with modern testing and the possibility of abortion, the chances for mending the situation in severe conditions are available.
Having a baby with a disability or learning difficulty is not the worst possible thing that could ever happen to any parent. Some women prefer to abort the child upon hearing the news for the fear of not being able to take good care of the child or giving the child their rightful share of attention. Others, on the other hand, decide to go through with the pregnancy and the delivery, and have come to acknowledge their children as an inseparable part of their lives, with or without their condition.
GDM, or Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, is a condition of diabetes that affects pregnant women during and perhaps after their pregnancy. Women over the age of 25 are more likely to develop this condition, depending on their overall health and the condition of their pregnancy. Also, in the case of pre diabetes prior to the pregnancy, the risk increases all the more. Smoking, drinking, lack of exercise, and the family history are all factors that contribute to the added risk of getting diabetes.
The exact reason for developing this condition is not known, yet. However, doctors say that the probable reason for this is this, the pancreas, which is a gland in the body that produces insulin, keeps on producing insulin that in normal conditions would burn off the excess glucose in the body. The hormones that are produced by the body to accommodate the pregnancy might counteract the effects of insulin, causing a raise in the levels of blood sugar.
10 Caesarean Section
Giving birth to baby naturally places a huge amount of stress and pressure on the spirits and body of the mother. In ordinary cases, where the mother is aged in her early or late twenties, the chances for a C-Section hover around 21 percent. Whereas in older mothers whose ages are above 35 years, the percentage is almost doubled to reach 41 percent. The reason for this is related to all other conditions that an older mother might suffer from, such as diabetes, or preeclampsia.
Older mothers with diabetes are at a risk of having larger babies that would only place extra pressure on the muscles and bones of the mother, especially if she has not given birth before. Also, the stress that the mother is placed under would increase the levels of blood pressure, which is a case known as preeclampsia. The final reason for having a c-section is that the uterus of an older mother is not as strong for performing the contractions necessary to push the baby out through the birth canal. Therefore, they would not usually experience full on labor contractions.
9 Weight Gain
The risk of the added weight on the body of the mother is stressful enough on many levels, emotional or physical. Younger mothers would be more motivated to re-pursue the body of their dreams and the perfect health they have been aiming for before the pregnancy. In the case of older mothers, they might feel discouraged to get back in shape after giving birth, increasing the risk of other age-related diseases.
Many mothers who are still in their twenties or early thirties would start to diet and hit the gym shortly after giving birth, sometimes less than one month later. Their motivation would come from wanting to please their significant other, or getting back in shape for that big job offer coming up along the way, while older moms would feel inclined to pour their attention on the health of the baby, rather than focusing on themselves just a bit more.
8 Pains And Aches
As people grow older, the weight of their bodies starts to “feel more” than it actually is to their bones, muscles, and joints. The constant usage of these parts of the body, especially in people with an active lifestyle, would slowly and steadily wear them out. For pregnant women, the body weight they put on during pregnancy poses another threat to their joints since the weight would be steadily, but quickly increasing.
The state of health and well-being that a woman at the age of twenty has can be vastly different than that of a woman in her fifties. Factors such as smoking, exercise, and lifestyles affect the degree to which the mother is affected by the pregnancy. For older mothers, these pains are likely to be intensified due to the already existing pains of age. This is a general statement, for it depends on the individuals and how their bodies tend to accept and handle each unique case of pregnancy.
7 Increased Risk Of Stillbirth
Stillbirth is a case often mistaken with miscarriage, although the two are slightly different. A miscarriage occurs in the first trimester of the pregnancy, while a stillbirth can occur at any point through the second and third trimester, and even at birth. The risk of women having a stillbirth at 39 weeks increases significantly when compared to that of women in their twenties. Hence, it is advised for women over the age of forty to have a c-section or induced labor at the mark of 39 weeks.
The muscles of the pelvis and the uterus become weaker by the time women pass into their forties, therefore increasing the risk for labor complications. Chances of getting the umbilical cord wrapped around the child’s neck or one of their limbs increases due to the lack of space and strength of contractions. As mentioned above, it is for this reason among many that women over forty are advised to get a c-section rather than go for a natural delivery.
6 Birth Defects
Older mothers who are over the age of 40 also have a likelihood of giving birth to children suffering from major congenital malformations, defects that may or may not be related to chromosomal abnormalities. The most common cause of fetal death among these defects is congenital heart defect, which is a problem in the structure of the heart of the fetus. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing and bluish skin, and could later develop to cause heart failure.
Another defect that is common with children born to an older mother is neural tube defect. This condition results from an opening in the brain or spinal cord of the baby that is caused by a malformation of the cells surrounding that specific area during the phase of gastrulation. This is a fairly common defect, affecting just about 300,000 births every year worldwide. Of course, as with all conditions, there is an increased risk to babies with older mothers.
5 Making It To The Child’s 18th Birthday
Let’s face it, no one likes to talk about age and death. Older mothers usually overlook this fact and focus on enjoying the time they have with their babies without over thinking about the future of the child. A general estimation was performed regarding the possibility or risk of the mother not surviving up until the 18th birthday of her child. The results were fairly general and realistic in their estimation, and did not undertake the individual differences and incidents.
A mother who has delivered her baby at the age of 25 has a risk of 1 percent of not being there for her child’s 18th birthday, while a mother who had conceived at the age of 45 has an increased risk of 5.5 percent. This study does not take into consideration the effects of the outside environment on the health of the mother, and any outstanding incidents that might come up later in her life. It is an estimation based on the average expectancy of life, overruling any other conditions such as disease, smoking, etc.
4 Low Birth Weight
It is generally agreed upon that the baby’s weight is the first weigh in of the baby immediately after birth, or a few hours later. The weight varies considerable depending on the health of the mother, her age, the condition of the baby, pregnancy complications, nutrition, and many other factors. Low birth weight can pose a delay to the growth of the child, considering the weak structure of the frame and body of the child that might persist if not treated.
Low birth weight is agreed upon to be anything less than 5.8 lbs. The lack of nutrition and lower birth weights might indicate an underdevelopment of the child’s body or another problem with the child’s health. The age of the mother is among the factors that might encourage the delivery of an underweight baby due to the inefficiency of the uterus and perhaps the lack of delivery of blood and oxygen to the baby.
3 Preterm Labor
The uterus of an older mother may not be as strong and efficient in doing the task of holding and nurturing a baby, along with the burden of carrying the extra weight. The lack of the older women’s flexibility of body and muscle often makes it necessary for medical intervention to take place. Many doctors recommend having a c-section performed at the mark of 37 to 39 weeks in hopes of avoiding any labor complications related to natural labor, or lack thereof.
Of course, having a baby before reaching its due date does not give it the full time it needs to achieve its potential for ultimate growth and health. But this can be slightly compromised when it comes to saving the life of the child and causing minimal damage to the expectant mother. Babies born to older mothers might need to be taken into infant care units, or neonatal intensive care units, to ensure the recovery of the baby.
2 Daily Routine
A mother in her twenties or early thirties is usually more flexible with daily routine changes. When the baby would wake up at 2 AM crying, the aftereffects of pulling an “all-nighter” would not be as harsh as it would be on a mother in her fifties. People tend to have less patience as they grow older, and would of course have less tolerance for noise and episodes of screaming or crying.
Another problem is the changes in the career of the mother that she would be obliged to make in order to give more of her time to her kids, rather than spending the entire day at the office or on the phone taking care of business. It is likely that a mother would have to hold back on her career for the first few months, or even years, until it becomes easier for her children to be managed in a shorter period of time.
1 Looking Younger and More Confident
With all the responsibility and the duties that come with pregnancy, birth, and taking care of the children, older mothers would often have to give up their work to take care of their kids. Staying away from the daily routine once one gets used to it and finding new, enjoyable activities to share with the kids can make a mother look and even feel younger. Going out and doing a variety of different exercises and activities adds a bit of color to the life of parents.
Older mothers have had a lot of time on their hands to study and examine other mother’s experiences and difficulties in having and raising children. They would be more confident and determined as to how they want to raise their kids, especially if they have had any past experience with kids around them. An older mother would not also be under the pressure of taking care of the kids as much as a younger mother would be, for older women are usually used to taking care of others as an essential part of their lives.