When to become a mother is a very personal decision. It is something society tries to tell women when to do, but the choice is always up to the woman. We have seen a rising trend lately that women are waiting longer before having children. Going back 50 years ago, women were having children while they were younger. Now, the age seems to be rising every year.
There is a good chance that a lot of women will not start the journey into motherhood until they are in their late 30’s and early 40’s. Women are spending more time focusing on their jobs and being independent before having children. This comes with a lot of risks and dangers that an OB may not want to tell the mother. They may hold this information in until they know if they have to spill the beans.
A lot of older women do go on to have healthy and beautiful children, but that doesn’t mean that it was completely without risk. There are certain factors that come into play for an older woman who wants to start a family. If mom is wondering if her OB is being open and honest with her when it comes to the risks associated, no need to look further. We have found 21 truths about being an older mom.
21 It May Be That Much Harder To Get Pregnant
If you are working with an OB/GYN before even conceiving they may not want to tell you that you may have a harder time conceiving in the first place. Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. As a woman ages, this number obviously starts dropping, meaning that she may have a harder time getting pregnant.
Even procedures like IVF are not guaranteed for an older woman. The success rates are a lot lower than that of a woman who is younger. It is not just the amount of eggs as well, it is also the quality of the eggs that we have to take into consideration.
20 You’ll See The OB More Often Than A Young Mom
We already mentioned that an older woman who is pregnant will likely already be considered ‘high-risk’ but what does that mean exactly? Well, it means that you may have more appointments with your OB or midwife. They are going to want to monitor you a little closely to make sure everything is going okay, which means you will be a regular in the office.
This can be a hassle, especially if you are still working or have other children. Finding the time for all the appointments can be a little tedious, but it is important for the health of you and your baby. So, hang in there and just know you are getting the best care possible.
19 All The Social Issues
Not all concerns with being an older mom are physical. A lot of them can be emotional as well. While it is true that a lot of women are waiting to have babies, the average age of first-time mothers is still a bit younger. If a woman is 40 and getting pregnant, she is going to be older than a lot of the other mother’s in her area.
This may be a problem when trying to find a mom friend out there. Even though motherhood is essentially the same no matter what your age is, you may have a harder time relating to the younger moms. You also may turn out to be the oldest when it comes to any of your child’s school activities later on. It is important to think about whether this matters to you or not.
18 Can You Keep Up?
If you have never been around a toddler there is something you need to know; they are full of energy. They never seem to stop and are constantly running, jumping and yelling. They will even attempt to use you as a personal jungle gym. This can take a toll on anyone, much less an older mom.
It may be hard, but you have to ask yourself if you can keep up with your child. When they are a little older, are you going to be able to crawl around on the floor with them? Or, are you going to be able to constantly run around the living room with them? Most importantly, are you up to the task of constantly picking up after them?
17 You Are Immediately Considered High Risk
We mentioned this before, but it deserves its own section. You are immediately considered high-risk during your pregnancy. A pregnancy in a woman over the age of 35 is commonly referred to as a geriatric pregnancy, and that is enough to make anyone feel old. This means that they are going to want you to do some genetic testing.
Genetic testing is normally done near the end of the first trimester and it includes some lab work as well as an ultrasound. They are looking for markers for any chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome or Trisomy 18/13. These tests will only tell a mother if there is a high or low risk. If the results come back high, she will be sent for further testing later on in her pregnancy.
16 You May Be Induced
A baby should always come when they're ready. Ideally, women would wait, and the baby would come on their own and it is this beautiful experience. There are some cases when a baby needs to be induced and encouraged to come out with medical intervention. This is more likely to happen if you are an older mother.
Inducing labor can have a lot of negatives attached to it. It is often a longer labor and there may be some complications after birth. There is also the chance that the baby was not ready to come, and they may need some help when they arrive.
15 A Breeched Baby Could Be Expected
Since mom is older, she may already be signed up for some extra ultrasounds. A ‘normal’ pregnancy will usually only have two ultrasounds. The dating scan and the anatomy scan. There are some situations where they will do more as the pregnancy progresses.
An older woman may have more as the pregnancy nears an end the check on the position of the baby. Older mothers are more likely to have a baby in the breeched position. This means that the baby is not face down. This is another contributing factor as to why a lot of older women need to have C-sections in order to safely deliver their baby.
14 Older Moms May Already Have Diabetes Before Getting Pregnant
Gestational diabetes is a real problem for women of any age, but older mothers may already be dealing with diabetes before they even conceive. Diabetes is when you have too much sugar in your system. Having too much sugar in your system can wreak havoc on vital organs, such as vessels, nerves, eyes, and kidneys.
The older a person is, the higher the risks are at developing diabetes on their own. Older women may be at a higher risk of going through a pregnancy with diabetes. This is why it is important for an older woman to get a full check-up before she conceives, including a glucose test.
13 Higher Risk for High BP
One of the most dangerous conditions a woman can face when they are expecting is preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a condition that is explained as high pressure as well as signs of one of her organs not working properly. An older woman is already at risk of having high pressure and may need to be monitored more closely for signs of preeclampsia.
If a woman is diagnosed with this condition, it is taken quite seriously. The only ‘cure’ for it is to deliver your baby. It is likely that there will be an induction set up for mom so that she and baby will be both safe and healthy.
12 It's More Likely For The Baby To Come Early
Pregnancy may only be 9 months (or so) but it feels like a lifetime, especially when you are near the end. However, the length is important for the growth and development of the little bean. A woman is normally pregnant for around 40 weeks, the closer she is to that milestone, the better the odds of a healthy baby.
37 weeks is considered a full-term baby, anything before that is considered premature. There is a higher risk of an older woman having a premature baby. Babies who are born prematurely tend to have more health concerns at the time of birth and even as they age.
11 Tiny Babies Are Also More Common To Occur
The size of the baby when born is very important. Babies that are too small at birth can have some risks, same as babies who are born too big. There is a large range of what is considered normal and ‘healthy’ birth size. Babies who are less than five pounds, eight 8 ounces are considered tiny babies. These babies may have some concerns that need to be addressed.
You have probably already sensed where we are going with the tone of this article, but if you haven’t, I will fill you in. Older mothers are more likely to have babies on the smaller side. It is likely you will have more than the average number of ultrasounds to check on the growth and size of your little one.
10 Ready For More Than One?
Some people think that having one baby is stressful, even more so if you are an older mother for reasons, we will talk about a bit further in the article. However, the thought of having more than one can be downright overpowering. Two, three, or even four babies are quite the handful, but older women are more likely than younger moms to have multiples.
This can happen all on their own, or it could be caused by fertility treatments the woman had to use to conceive in the first place. Multiple births always come with risks and mom will be monitored throughout her entire pregnancy. She is also likely to deliver early and will most likely have a C-section to get those babies out.
9 Higher Risks All Together
There is one thing that is pretty standard across a lot of medical fields. That is that if you hit the age of 35, your pregnancy may be considered high-risk. Even if there is no medical reason for the label, they may stick it on you anyways. There will be more monitoring and more testing than in a pregnancy for a woman younger than that.
This is because the chance of a baby being born with a chromosomal abnormality is much higher. Older mothers have a higher chance of having a baby who has Down syndrome, for example. They are also at a higher risk of having a baby with a birth defect.
8 Let’s Talk About Birth...
Let’s talk about childbirth — the big show. The moment all women wait for as soon as they get a positive pregnancy test. At first, they may feel excited because that would mean that they get to see and hold their little baby. It doesn’t take long for fear and anxiety to kick in. It is no surprise that childbirth is painful, we all know this. However, is there a difference in childbirth based on the age of the mother?
The answer is yes! Older women are at a higher risk of needing a C-section to deliver their baby. C-sections are great, and they have saved a lot of lives, however, they are considered a major operation. They come with a longer and much more difficult recovery period which may be harder on an older mother.
7 ...And Loss
Let’s get the uncomfortable topic out of the way, and that is loss. Pregnancy and infant loss are a sad reality of this world and it needs to be talked about more. We often push these topics aside because they are painful and uncomfortable to talk about, but women all over would be helped more if we just talked about it.
Unfortunately, pregnancy loss is much more common in women who are older when they conceive. The most common time for a loss to happen is still in the first trimester, and it is normally due to a chromosomal abnormality that made the baby not compatible with life. It is rarely ever due to something the mother has done.
6 You'll Need A More Careful Pregnancy
If you wanted to find a downside to being pregnant, it would be all the restrictions. There are a lot of things a woman can’t do, eat or drink when she is pregnant. Most (if not all) women don’t mind all the rules because it means that they will have a healthy little baby. However, an older woman has to be even more careful when pregnant.
This includes making sure any pre-existing medical conditions are taken care of properly. If she is on meds for anything, she may need to have a conversation with her doctor about how it may affect her pregnancy. She will also need to make sure she is taking an appropriate multivitamin every day, making sure it has enough folic acid in it.
5 Let’s Get Down To The Numbers
When we all think about becoming pregnant, we do think about the future. We plan ahead for how we will handle discipline and we may even start thinking about college and our child’s wedding one day. However, there is one thing that we don’t often consider. That is as our child ages we do too. If a woman has her child when she is 40, that means that when her child is 30, she will be 70.
This can also affect your future relationship with any grandchildren. If your child has children late, you may not be around long to spend time with your grandchildren. This is something that not a lot of people consider, but it may be important to you.
4 Placental Problems
The placenta is probably the most important organ in the whole-body during pregnancy. That is because it is what is nourishing your little baby. All the nutrients and oxygen your baby needs are supplied through the placenta. There are multiple times when the placenta can cause a problem in a pregnancy, and these are all more likely when the woman is older during pregnancy.
Placenta abruption, to be specific, has a higher chance of happening in an older woman. Placental abruption is when the placenta separates from the body too early and this could be very dangerous in pregnancy. The placenta is only supposed to detach after the baby is born.
3 Illnesses Will Be Rushed
The placenta is probably the most important organ in the whole-body during pregnancy. That is because it is what is nourishing your little baby. All the nutrients and oxygen your baby needs are supplied through the placenta. There are multiple times when the placenta can cause a problem in pregnancies, and these are all more likely when the woman is older during pregnancy.
Placenta abruption, to be specific, has a higher chance of happening in an older woman. Placental abruption is when the placenta separates from the body too early and this could be very dangerous in a pregnancy. The placenta is only supposed to detach after the baby is born.
2 What Is Hypoxia?
Since age is a factor in the health and wellness of a person, there is a chance that a woman is already dealing with some medical issues before she becomes pregnant depending on how old she is when she conceives. The bad news about this is that pregnancy can actually make these conditions worse; it can exacerbate the illness.
This is because pregnancy already takes such a large toll on a woman’s body. It wears the body down as it works to help create this new little person. That means that there is a decrease in your body’s ability to protect itself from illness. You are more likely to catch a common cold when pregnant, so any pre-existing conditions can be made much worse.
1 You Don't Want To Become A Sandwich
Hypoxia is not a term a lot of people are aware of because it is not something that commonly happens. However, if you are an older mom you may be at a higher risk of it happening. Hypoxia occurs when a baby doesn’t receive enough oxygen to its brain during childbirth and after.
This can have some serious consequences, such as brain injury and may even progress to a more permanent condition, like cerebral palsy. You will likely be monitored closely during childbirth, and if there is any risk of this happening it is likely that mom will be taken for a C-section to deliver her baby.
References: marchofdimes.org, livestrong.com, motherhow.com, docgtoroz.com, medicalnewstoday.com