More and more women are waiting to become mothers until later in life. Whether they are busy establishing careers, have decided to be childfree, or haven't found the right mate - each person has their reason for not having children in their twenties or even thirties! Biological motherhood after 35 is possible and it's becoming increasingly commonplace. Pregnancy always has its own risks, but pregnancy after age 35 can be very different from pregnancy earlier in life. I was totally surprised to learn moms who have babies at an older age will actually live longer! Read on to learn why.
The Name Isn’t Flattering
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Surely you’ve heard the old adage: never ask a woman her age. When someone over the age of 35 gets pregnant, their medical chart gets stamped with some quite unflattering language. “Geriatric” mothers aren’t anywhere near old age, but they share this age-based descriptor with octogenarians in the nursing home! Some doctor’s offices even call these expectant mothers “elderly”. The most common - and least offensive - is “advanced maternal age”. Even that seems to be a bit overkill, don’t you think?
More Women Are Waiting To Become Mothers
While most females are able to bear children from adolescence, more and more are waiting to become mothers. Women in their 20s are delaying parenthood for various reasons: some because they prefer to pursue their career or establish wealth, others are less impressed with the available selection of potential mates. Meanwhile, women in their 40s are having more babies than ever before! It seems the average maternal age is rising - which means more people will become a mom after 35.
Egg Quality Declines Rapidly After 35
From a scientific perspective, pregnancy is easier and less complex in younger people. When a female is born, she already has all of the eggs she’ll ever have in her body. As she ages, she loses eggs each month through ovulation. The quantity of eggs understandably diminishes, but so does the quality. As the cells age, eggs are more likely to develop genetic abnormalities. This significant decline in egg quality begins at 31 and takes a serious nosedive after 40.
Older Mothers Are More Likely To Have Multiples
Even though their egg quality and quantity are both on the decline, mothers of “advanced maternal age” are more likely to conceive multiples - twins, triplets, or more! Part of this increase is due to fertility treatments; women who are in their late 30s and beyond are more likely to need assistance to conceive. However, older women without fertility challenges also have a higher chance of birthing multiples. As they age, women produce more follicle stimulating hormone. FSH makes it more likely that a woman will mature and release more than one egg per cycle.
More Likely To Have Preterm Birth
Pregnant women who are over age 40 are significantly more likely to go into spontaneous labor before they reach full term. Some attribute this change to hormonal shifts or even uterine changes. Those “geriatric moms” who don’t go into labor on their own are still more likely to give birth before 40 weeks. Because they have a higher risk of complications like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, these moms are more likely to be induced preterm.
You’ll Live Longer
It would make sense that younger mothers have more energy and stamina to keep up with their little ones. Apparently, statistics don’t follow logic; motherhood after 35 can lengthen your life expectancy! Women who have their last babies after age 33 are more likely to reach their 95th birthday. Those who close up the baby shop before 30 don’t have the same luck. How cool is that!