Women's Healthcare Topics

Pregnancy After Thirty-Five Years Old

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Advanced Maternal Age

In today's society, an increasing number of women are deciding to have babies later and later in life. While there is no set age when it's unsafe for a woman to become pregnant, the demands that pregnancy places on the body can increase an older woman's risk for pregnancy complications.

As a result, older moms may need to visit the doctor more often, endure special tests, and need special care during their labor and delivery.

Once you reach your early 30s, fertility tends to decline. It may be harder for you to get pregnant, or stay pregnant. In many cases, your difficulty getting pregnant may be due to problems with ovulation – the release of the eggs from your ovaries.

Learn about a pregnancy after 35 years of age.

As you age, ovulation occurs less frequently and your eggs are not as easily fertilized as a younger woman's. Another reason older women face infertility may be due to their higher risk of blocked fallopian tubes and endometriosis—a disorder in which the tissue that lines your uterus grows outside your womb on your fallopian tubes or ovaries. Both these complications can cause infertility.

The father's age may also play a role in infertility. As he ages, his fertility also decreases.

Older women are at higher risk of miscarriage. Your risk for pregnancy loss increases as you age. In many cases, these miscarriages are related to chromosomal issues.

Your risk of delivering a baby with birth defects also increases with age, you may want to have genetic testing performed.

Your child may end up with a chromosome-related disease, such as Down syndrome and Spina Bifida. In many cases, older women are offered testing for genetic disorders and other medical problems before and during pregnancy.

Older moms also have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure during pregnancy, and this can cause problems with the placenta and the growth of the baby. High blood pressure can even worsen during pregnancy.

You are also more likely to develop gestational diabetes—diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. This can led to high blood pressure, stillbirths, and macrosomia (an overly large baby).

Despite all these risk factors, many moms who are over 35 go on to have normal, healthy children.

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