Women who become pregnant at or beyond the age of 35 are considered to be of an advanced maternal age. This should not discourage you from pregnancy, but is simply the age at which certain risks of pregnancy become more likely.
These risks include:
- Difficulty conceiving: As you reach your mid to late 30s your eggs decrease in number and quality, and are not as easily fertilized. Consult with your doctor if you have not conceived within six months of trying.
- Multiple pregnancies: Hormone changes as you get older can increase your chance of releasing two or more eggs at a time during ovulation. Fertility treatments also increase your chances of multiple pregnancies.
- Gestational diabetes: This type of diabetes only occurs in pregnancy and increases with maternal age. Diet and exercise should be strictly monitored to avoid high blood pressure and risks to your baby such as high birth weight and premature birth.
- High blood pressure: High blood pressure or hypertension during pregnancy can lead to preeclampsia and other complications. If you have high blood pressure in pregnancy you may need to schedule more prenatal appointments for observation, and may need to deliver your baby prematurely.
- Cesarean delivery: C-sections are more common in older mothers because of various risk factors that lead to cesarean deliveries. A common complication that results in c-section for older mothers is called placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta blocks the cervix.
- Chromosomal abnormalities: Older mothers experience an increase in chromosomal abnormalities such as Down Syndrome.
- Pregnancy loss: Miscarriage and stillbirth are more common at an advanced maternal age due to chromosomal abnormalities and higher frequency of other health conditions.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through healthy eating and exercise significantly diminishes these risks, regardless of age.