Is there a baby fever? Any age can be affected by it. You may seem too old to have a baby if you’ve waited until later in life to try to conceive. When you become pregnant after 35, you are automatically classified as an “advanced maternal age” (AMA). However, don’t let that label intimidate you – successful pregnancy is still common after 35! However, what if you are over 40? 45?
Some women may have to face getting pregnant after a certain age, while others may have a much easier time. Health status and menopause status are among the factors that play into this. Read on to find out how your pregnancy odds change according to age, what type of threats may be involved for you and your baby, and what questions to ask your doctor.
Is it too late to get pregnant?
In women, menopause is an interruption of their menstrual cycle (for an extended period). A woman reaches this milestone around 51, on average, between her late 40s and early 50s. The old-fashioned method can still be used to get pregnant in your 50s. Is it easy? It’s not necessary. But possible? Yes.
During perimenopause, cycles become longer and less regular before the menstrual cycle completely stops. Perimenopause usually occurs in women between 40 and 45, although some may experience it as early as the mid-30s. While you’re still producing eggs, you can still become pregnant – although it’s more complicated. There have been stories of much older women carrying pregnancies to term.
A 74-year-old Indian woman delivered twin girls in 2019, for example. This story often involves hormone therapy and in vitro fertilization (IVF). It’s the exception, not the rule.
IVF and other ART procedures are necessary for most women over 45 to conceive. A woman of any age can become pregnant – with medical help – if she possesses a “normal uterus,” regardless of whether ovaries or functional ovaries.
Pregnancy risks after 35
Many women can carry pregnancies over the age of 35. There are, however, certain risks that are associated with maternal age, both for the mother and for the baby.
An infertility problem. When you reach menopause, getting pregnant may take longer. How come? The quantity of eggs in your body is fixed at the beginning of your life. Over time, that number decreases. Also, your eggs may be of lesser quality as you age, making them more difficult to fertilize and implant.
Having a miscarriage. A lower egg quality increases the risk of miscarriage. It is also possible that you will experience pregnancy loss if you have medical conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes. As well as stillbirth, it’s important to keep up with prenatal appointments to catch issues early.
Chromosome issues. It is also possible for older women to have more chromosome issues. Women at age 20 have a 1 in 1,480 chance of having a child with Down syndrome. The risk increases to 1 in 85 after age 40.
Gestational diabetes. While still inside the womb, a baby with diabetes may grow large. During birth, a baby that is too large may suffer an injury. As well as high blood pressure (for mom) and premature birth (for baby), gestational diabetes can cause other complications.
Multiples. It may sound like a blessing to be able to carry more than one bundle of joy, but carrying multiples comes with additional risks. ART such as IVF and hormonal changes are why twins or higher order multiples are more common over the age of 35.
High blood pressure. Preeclampsia and gestational hypertension are also more likely to occur over 40.
Low birth weight. Premature and low birth weight births are associated with additional complications due to maternal complications.
Cesarean delivery. C-sections are more likely to occur with pregnancy complications. Cesarean delivery rates increase from 26 percent at age 20 to 40 percent at 35 and 48 percent at 40.