Pregnancy planning after 35 – tips from your obstetrics clinic in Katy TX
Drs. Jenkins and Falae are known for providing quality, compassionate care to women of Katy, TX. All three doctors are board-certified in obstetrics, and our clinic offers services including pre-pregnancy, pre-natal, and post-natal care. Many of our patients ask about the risks of pregnancy later in life.
The average age of motherhood is rising
Bringing a child into the world is a big step, involving infinite changes in your health and your family. A growing number of women are choosing to wait longer to have children. For generations, the average age of a woman giving birth was in her twenties. As of 2016, the number of women giving birth in their thirties surpassed those in their twenties.
There are many reasons for this trend, including financial and career considerations, or development of a stable family framework. However, one of the most significant factors is improvements in modern medical care. The risk of infertility or pregnancy complications is higher for older moms, but good obstetric care can help mitigate those risks.
What is late in life pregnancy?
Many people maintain good health, high energy levels, and youthful appearances through their thirties, forties, and beyond. You probably wouldn’t describe the age of 35 as “late” in life – and in most respects, it certainly is not. However, it is late in the fertile stage of life, making motherhood a bit more challenging.
For most women, fertility begins to decrease at the age of 32, and the decline accelerates after the age of 37. On average, pregnancies after age 35 are more likely to be difficult, and they carry a higher risk for several reasons:
- Every woman begins life with a finite number of eggs, which decreases over time. Conception becomes more challenging as the years pass.
- Many health problems that can negatively affect fertility, such as fibroids and endometriosis, become more likely with age.
- The chances of preexisting conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, increase with age. These conditions can present challenges during pregnancy.
- The risk of having a baby with a birth defect (caused by chromosome problems) is greater for older mothers; however, the overall risk remains extremely low. A twenty-year-old pregnant woman has a 1 in 525 risk of this occurring. At age thirty it increases to 1 in 385, and by age forty the risk is 1 in 65.
- Multiple pregnancies are more likely in older women. The use of many fertility treatments also increases the chance of a multiple pregnancy.
- The odds of a preterm birth, or a stillbirth, are higher in older mothers. Women in their thirties are also more likely to need cesarean delivery than women in their twenties are.
Pregnancy planning 101 – what to do before you conceive
If you’ve passed your twenties, is it too late for motherhood? No! In fact, it is not too late to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. However, you need to be extra diligent in self-care, even before you become pregnant.
Planned pregnancies have a huge advantage, because you have the opportunity to optimize your health. No matter what your age, if you:
- See an obstetrician – Don’t wait until you are pregnant to visit Jenkins Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Medicine. Our skilled OBGYNs can help you identify potential risk factors and take steps to improve your health, thus increasing the chance of a healthy pregnancy and decreasing the chance of problems.
- Good nutrition – Eat a healthy diet to give your body, and future baby, the essential building blocks for health.
- Fitness – Regular exercise not only improves overall health, but also helps prepare your body for the strain of pregnancy and childbirth.
- Weight maintenance – The healthier you are, the greater your odds of a successful, trouble-free pregnancy. Try to shed some pounds if you are overweight, or gain if you are underweight.
- Avoid toxins – If you smoke or use tobacco in any other form, now is the time to stop. Also try to avoid harsh or potentially dangerous chemicals, such as industrial formulas that may be used in the work place.
If you are pregnant or planning to conceive, please call us at 855 346 8610 and schedule an appointment right away. We are passionate about keeping moms and babies healthy!