I'm Over the Age of 35. Is Pregnancy Still an Option For Me?

If you’re considering pregnancy after age 35, you’re part of a growing trend. Women are choosing to postpone motherhood and start or add to their families later in life. 

As the birth rates for women ages 20-34 have decreased, birth rates for women in their late 30s to mid-40s have increased.

We don’t blame you for being concerned about pregnancy later in your childbearing years. The medical community labels pregnancy at age 35 and older as “geriatric pregnancy” or mothers in this group as being of “advanced maternal age.”

Improve your chances of having a normal pregnancy and a healthy baby by working with an experienced prenatal team you trust. Our OB/GYNs at The Association for Women’s Health Care are caring pregnancy specialists who provide comprehensive services for mothers of all ages. 

If you’re considering pregnancy after age 35, we can help you understand the special considerations that might apply and provide the support you need to achieve a healthy outcome. 

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’s 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 your 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. 

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.

Understand the facts about complications

Complications with pregnancy and childbirth can occur at any age. A pregnancy that begins after age 35 is classified as a high-risk pregnancy because the risk of complications is higher, not inevitable. 

Many of the problems that occur with pregnancies after age 35 are related to health conditions that occur more often as you age. If you don’t receive proper treatment for one of these issues, like diabetes or high blood pressure, it could result in complications for you or your unborn baby. 

Certain behaviors can reduce your risk of complications. A Canadian study reported that women in their 40s could increase their chances of having pregnancy and birth outcomes comparable to younger women by taking the following precautions:

While the overall risk of miscarriage is 25% for women at age 40, versus 12-15% for women in their 20s, consider that this means you have a 75% chance of avoiding a miscarriage at age 40.

Find out about genetic testing

Many women worry that having a baby later in life increases the risk of chromosome abnormalities. In reality, the risk of a woman of any age having a baby with a chromosome abnormality is relatively low. 

If this is a concern, our prenatal team offers comprehensive genetic testing in the first trimester of pregnancy to provide you with answers about the health of your unborn baby. 

Learn more about getting pregnant and having a healthy baby after age 35. Contact our Chicago or Northbrook, Illinois, office today to schedule a consultation.

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