Conceiving After 40: What Are Your Risks?

There could be a number of reasons that might have delayed your conception and there is no need to feel guilty because the neighbour from the next street made it look like it’s your entire fault. Fertility does not end at 40 and you can very well make it successfully to full term and deliver a healthy baby but ignoring the potential risks of a late pregnancy is not how you should proceed. It is essential to understand and give importance to the risk factors that your doctor is most likely to highlight in the first few weeks of pregnancy.

Listed Below Is What You Might Experience If You Are Pregnant After 40:

1. Gestational Diabetes

GD can happen to anyone in any age but with metabolic rates dropping with increasing maternal age, Gestational Diabetes is more likely to happen after 40. Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels, a low GI diet and an active and healthy lifestyle can help in prevention of GD.

2. Gestational Hypertension

Blood pressure tends to be raised with growing age and after 40, there is every chance that you might experience Gestational Hypertension in which your blood pressure levels are heightened and you end up having a preterm labour.

3. Down’s Syndrome

One of the most dreaded consequences of advanced maternal age is Down’s syndrome1. As your body ages, the possibility of chromosomal abnormalities is also enhanced and it has been shown in studies that 1 out of 200 babies born to women aged 40 and above has Down’s Syndrome. To ensure that the pregnancy is viable and the baby is normal inside the womb, there are a number of screening tests that can be performed in order to rule out genetic disorders and chromosomal abnormalities.

4. Miscarriages

If you are aged 40 and above, the likelihood of miscarriages is enhanced and if there are chromosomal abnormalities already present, this possibility is heightened. This is a very difficult fact to accept but the number of miscarriages that occur due to advanced maternal age is on the rise.

5. Preterm Labour

You might end up with a low-lying placenta, you might experience placental abruption, and you might be troubled by GD and pre-eclampsia. All these might lead to preterm labour and a low-weight baby after birth.

6. Caesarean Births

Late pregnancies often need to be supported by supplemental hormones and follicular treatments. This often leads to having twins. Birthing twins after full term is quite an adventure and more often than not, you end up having a caesarean section because the baby is either in a breech position, or you have multiple babies or the baby is too big to be born. All these can happen to any woman even in her 20’s and 30’s but being over 40 enhances the possibilities.

There is no harm in conceiving after 40 but you will need regular prenatal visits, frequent screening tests, supplemental pills to support the pregnancy and a lot of support from your partner and family members. It might seem like a Herculean task but the number of success stories of women delivering healthy babies after 40 can always be motivational enough. 

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_syndrome