Women today are waiting longer to have children due to family, education and work responsibilities Also, women are waiting longer compared to years past before they make the big plunge and get married which also accounts for a large reason that women are waiting longer to become pregnant. Pregnancies in women over 30 are considered high risk for a variety of reasons. This subject hits close to home for me because a dear friend from high school passed away this past February due to pregnancy complications, luckily the baby survived. She was 36 years of age and had a very complicated pregnancy
A Mother’s Legacy
My friend was very excited when she discovered that she was going to be a mother again at her age as this was unexpected but joyous news that she was expecting again. The pregnancy was full of problems with the most severe being breathing problems. She was ill for a couple of months before her passing but the doctors had no idea what was to come in the near future. My friend developed a blood clot in one of her lungs which landed her in ICU. She fought courageously for her life but in the end lost her fight. Immediately upon her passing doctors rushed her into surgery performing a c-section which resulted in a pre-term but healthy baby boy. Her family will never be the same and she never got the chance to even hold her newborn son.
Complication risks are higher
Most complications for pregnant women over thirty have little to do with the pregnancy and more to do with the over-all health of the mother. Women over 30 are more susceptible to diabetes, high blood pressure and other various conditions caused by genetics, age and diet put women at risk for poor placental function which is dangerous to the health and well-being of the infant and mother. Women who suffer from these ailments should seek medical attention before planning a pregnancy so that they are more aware of all the involved risks.
Downs Syndrome possible
Downs Syndrome is also a risk factor for later in life pregnancies. Before the age of thirty the occurrence of a Down Syndrome child is one in 1,300, but after the age of 30 the risk is one in 350 births resulting in this condition. There are tests that can be done early during pregnancy including amniocentesis and villi sampling that will help to determine if the baby suffers from any genetic disorders including Down Syndrome.
Multiples add to complications
Women over 30 are at an increased chance of having a multiple pregnancy. No matter the age of the mother all multiple pregnancies are high risk resulting in bed rest to help prevent pre-term labor. I was in my early twenties when I found out that I was expecting twins. Despite my young age the pregnancy was very complicated and the babies were delivered at thirty-two weeks gestation despite bed rest most of the pregnancy ending with a month of bed rest in the hospital prior to delivery. Luckily, my daughter only needed oxygen for the first thirty minutes of life and my son did not need any assistance breathing. They were in the hospital’s NICU for 19 days before they were released to come home.
Discovering that you are expecting a baby is a joyful time for parents of any age. With proper medical care and precautions chances are that your pregnancy will go smoothly and your baby will be healthy. They say that knowledge is power and something that should be sought upon learning that you are expecting regardless of age.