MMC's Brad Chesney, M.D., says women who get pregnant in their 20s are more physically fit, but the trend lately is career first then family. However, there are risks.
With more and more women taking up careers before starting a family, getting pregnant later in life is trending. However, does waiting until your older pose risks to you and your baby? Here’s a quick snippet of what we learned.
Your body is primed to handle the demands of carrying a baby at a younger age. You’re at the lowest risk for pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, chronic hypertension and pre-eclampsia. You’re also less likely to have a baby with Down syndrome or spina bifida. In your 20s, once your baby is born, caring for and keeping up with him should be relatively easy for you. “Young patients are more likely to be healthy,” says Brad Chesney, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., an OB/GYN at Murfreesboro Medical Clinic. “They tend to have fewer medical problems and consequently take fewer medications and are also, generally, more physically fit,” he adds.
Many women in their 30s feel more psychologically ready for motherhood than they do in their 20s. You’re at higher risk of developing certain complications, but the majority of healthy women still have uneventful pregnancies in their thirties. “Newer data in recent years shows healthy women postpone childbearing for career advancement,” says Elizabeth Oldfield, M.D., of Doctors for Women in Nashville. “Age 25 – 35 may be ideal, but age 35 – 45 is not a contradiction especially in healthy, motivated women who receive optimum medical care before and during their pregnancy,” she adds. In women older than 35, it is recommended to consult a physician prior to conceiving and also if you are unsuccessful in conceiving after six months of trying.
Having a baby in your 40s is common these days, and the majority of older mothers have normal pregnancies. Still, the risk of complications rise after age 40. “The main risk is for fetal chromosome abnormalities such as Down syndrome,” says Alison Mullaly, M.D., OB/GYN at Vanderbilt Franklin Women’s Center. “Studies also show that women who are pregnant after 40 have a higher risk of gestational diabetes, hypertension and C-section delivery.” The good news? If you’re physically fit, eat well, and don’t have pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, your overall risk of other complications isn’t markedly higher than that of a woman in her 20s or 30s