Over 100 000 pregnant women in America give birth in their 40s every year. However, it's necessary to know that pregnant women who are over 40 years old have a high risk of health issues- both for them and their babies.
According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), birthrates for women aged below 40 have been decreasing while above 40 have been increasing by three percent every year since 1982. Although there can't be any scientific research on each issue mentioned, there are health hazards caused due to the increasing age of pregnant mothers.
One significant matter is the difficulty to conceive. Fertility starts to drop at around the age of 32 and sinks at a very low level when women reached 40. However, reproductive technologies like IVF turns out to be boon at the time.
Ok so I am mortified by the photo but did want to examine the realities of "risk" in older pregnancies. Seems like we punish women for stretching the boundaries of biology through technology in a way that doesn't happen in other medical spheres https://t.co/pMJk7RIIPd— Reyhan Harmanci (@harmancipants) November 12, 2019
If the women have crossed the bar of conceiving, it's still difficult to continue it flawlessly. With increasing age, the chances of miscarriage and stillbirths increase highly. This is mainly caused because of the chromosomal problems in the embryo of the older eggs. According to Dr. van Dis, women between 40 and 44 have a 33 percent chance of miscarriage. Factors such as high blood pressure and gestational diabetes also influence miscarriages and stillbirths. Enduring pregnancy at the age of 40, increases chances of cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure and heart diseases. Thus, women over 40 are at higher risk for preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. These conditions can create a host of problems for both mother and baby, including low (or unusually high) birth weights and premature deliveries.
Another problem that may arise is placenta previa. Here, the placenta partly or completely covers the cervix, thus inviting a hazardous situation. The most strange and shocking of all is an increased risk of breast cancer. The older a new mother is when she gives birth, the higher there is a risk of encountering breast cancer sooner. According to Louise Brinton, Ph.D., women who have their first child after 40 may be at a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer in the decade or so following childbirth than those who gave birth before they were 20.
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Most of my friends started families in their 20s-30s. Me? ✳️ I had unexplained infertility. ✳️ I spent thousands on fertility treatments and after IVF was told I had “old eggs”. ✳️ Moved on to private adoption and was matched with a woman who was 🤰🏻. ✳️ Weeks before Bryson was to be born, the agency called to tell me the adoption was off because my ex didn’t want to be a father (yep, that’s how I found out). ✳️ I uncovered that he was having an affair, filed for divorce, went through therapy to process it all, and got through the other side of hell 🔥. ✳️ I met my current husband, we got married and, at the ripe old age of 41 (without any intervention), I got pregnant 🤰🏻. I actually went into shock 😲 when I saw the results on that stick! By this time, my income was sizable and my lifestyle and responsibilities required it. I had lots of debt from fertility treatments, a failed adoption and a divorce. As a matter of fact, we still scrape by. We’ve got three kids (two steps for me; one in daycare FT) all in extracurriculars. My husband has cancer and is in a clinical trial (we pay that out of pocket). I have student loan debt because I recently got my Master’s 👩🏼🎓. Staying at home for me was never an option...EVER. But guess what? I’m still an amazing mom; I’ve never missed taking care of my kids when they’re sick, never missed a game or concert (unless there was another sick kid at home), my kids have never missed out on anything they’ve wanted to do because I’m not home 24/7. It may not be the life I planned for myself in my 20s, but I’ve learned a lot along the way and am who I am today because of all these events. I’m 💯% ok with my life. It took a few decades to get here but my gratitude for what I DO has led me to feel content and purposeful. No more guilt here...No more comparisons. How about you?
“The simplistic view is that as you age, your cells are constantly changing, and a heavy dose of the hormone can promote them into cancer,” Dr. Brinton said.
Apart from all the issues faced by the mother, the child is also prone to certain anomalies like congenital disabilities. The older an egg, the more the chromosomal issues are leading to birth defects.
Having said all that, each body is different and can handle pregnancy in its own way. After analyzing all the pros and cons, it's always advisable for a woman to consult a doctor and plan accordingly.