The trend of delayed motherhood is on the rise as more and more women are getting career-oriented. However, it is important to be aware that late pregnancies come with their own set of risks for both the mother and the child. A middle-aged woman often finds it more difficult to carry a pregnancy to term and may tire easily when caring for a young child. Therefore, it is important for women over the age of 35 to be especially vigilant for early pregnancy symptoms. The chances of complications during pregnancy nearly double from 10.37 percent for women in their 20s to 20.59 percent for women in their 30s.
By the time you reach the age of 40, the probability of having a baby with a genetic disease such as Down’s syndrome or Patau’s syndrome gets very high. In many cases, parents may have to terminate the pregnancy after conducting screening tests.
There are several associated risks with belated pregnancies, including an increased chance of developing breast cancer. Other risks include miscarriages, stillbirths and an increased chance of death for the mother after labor.
If you are pregnant and over the age of 35, you may be at an increased risk for complications during labor. Additionally, the length of labor may be prolonged. In some cases, induced labor or a C-section may be necessary.
Pregnancy-induced hypertension (high blood pressure) is a significant risk of a late pregnancy. It can lead to seizures, renal and liver complications, even leading to death of the mother. Babies of such mothers are premature or with stunted growth, and later on face problems in social adjustment.
Fetal growth restriction, or an undernourished baby, can occur due to placenta problems (low-lying placenta) in older women. This can cause problems for the fetus, such as heart issues, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other health problems in the future.
Premature birth is the leading cause of death for newborns and young infants worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 15 million babies are born prematurely each year – that’s more than 1 in 10 births. In the United States, about 1 in 10 babies are born prematurely.
Premature birth is defined as a baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. A full-term pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks.
Causes of premature birth include:
• A history of premature birth
• Smoking, drinking or using drugs during pregnancy
• Poor nutrition
• Infections during pregnancy
• Some chronic health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure
Premature babies are at risk for a number of health problems. They may have difficulty feeding and breathing, and are at risk for infections and bleeding in the brain. Premature babies also have a higher risk for lifelong health problems, such as cerebral palsy, developmental delays, hearing and vision problems.
Regular prenatal tests with a doctor are the best way to detect potential complications in late pregnancies. There is no specific screening test for this purpose. Many complications can develop suddenly, but if they’re detected early on, the risk of further severe complications can be reduced or even eliminated.
Doctors usually advise that the best age for bearing a child is before you turn 33 years old. This is because there are more risks associated with pregnancy as you get older. If you become a mother late for unavoidable reasons, you should consider taking pregnancy tests to assess your risk of potential diseases. Besides, precautions may also help you cut down on the risks associated with a late pregnancy period.