Any woman who is menstruating and ovulating can get pregnant, so there are a wide range of ages for new and expectant mums. Some women give birth as teenagers, others in their 20s or 30s, and some give birth in their 40s or beyond. Although we often think of older mothers as a recent phenomenon or as something that’s only possible due to IVF, it was actually very common in the past as people did not have access to contraception. Many women continued having children right up until the menopause. Women are now more likely to be having their first child at a later age, but the number of mothers over 35 is actually very similar to the numbers in the 1940s or earlier.
However, just because you are fertile it doesn’t mean that having a baby will be safe or easy. The risks of pregnancy are higher for very young mothers and for older women. Although other factors (such as your health, weight and whether you’ve had children before) will also influence the risks, your age does affect how likely you are to experience certain complications during pregnancy.
An older pregnancy has traditionally been given extra consideration for women who are at higher risk due to their age, although you might not hear it being used as much today. You might hear the term advanced maternal age (AMA) used instead.
Although many women can conceive and have healthy pregnancies over the age of 35, the risks of complications do rise after this age. It’s important for your antenatal care provider to consider your age when deciding which scans, antenatal tests and additional care you might need.
Women who become pregnant over the age of 35 are more likely to experience:
However, these risks are still fairly low. Most women who are otherwise healthy will be able to have uncomplicated pregnancies. The risks are higher, but they still only affect a small proportion of women.
If you are an older mother, you might want to arrange some additional Reassurance Scans and Wellbeing Scans to check on your baby during the pregnancy. It’s also a good idea to consider NIPT to check for chromosomal abnormalities such as Down’s syndrome, which are more common for older parents.
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Excellent Team we met yesterday. From the wonderful and welcoming reception staff to meeting Belinda ‘B’. Belinda explained everything that was going to happen, made us feel really comfortable and relaxed. I could not recommend the clinic highly enough. Fantastic customer service and skilled medical team.
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