We understand—you might be tempted to wait to start a family until you have your life in order (and that can take awhile!). But sometimes, having a baby just might not be advisable from a biological perspective.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, postponing motherhood isn't necessarily best for the mother or the baby. Not only do you risk missing out on motherhood entirely (the biological clock waits for no one!), you face increased chances of experiencing reproductive or other health problems, or giving birth to a baby with health problems. Here's what you need to know to be fully informed on the age-old age issue:
Older mothers are less fertile than younger mothers
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, a woman over the age of 40 has only a 5% chance of conceiving during any given menstrual cycle as compared to the 20% odds boasted by a woman in her early 20s.
Older mothers face an increased risk of miscarriage
According to a study reported in the British Medical Journal, by the time a woman reaches the age of 45, the odds of a pregnancy resulting in miscarriage are approximately 75%.
Older mothers face an increased risk of giving birth to a baby with a chromosomal abnormalit
The odds of a 25-year-old woman giving birth to a baby with a chromosomal abnormality—such as Down syndrome—are 1 in 476; a 45-year-old woman faces odds of 1 in 21.
Older mothers are more likely to conceive twins or other multiples than younger mothers
Complications are more common in multiple pregnancies and multiples are more likely to be born prematurely. Accordingly, the rate of loss in multiple pregnancies is usually higher than when a woman is carrying a single baby.
Older mothers are more likely to develop complications during their pregnancies
Preeclampsia (extremely high blood pressure), placenta previa (when the placenta blocks the exit of the uterus), placental abruptions (early separation of the placenta from the uterine wall), gestational diabetes (a form of diabetes triggered during pregnancy), premature birth (birth before the 37th completed week of pregnancy) and intrauterine growth restriction (when the baby ends up being significantly smaller than what would be expected for a baby of a particular gestational age) are all more common conditions in order mothers than in younger mothers. Women over the age of 40 are also more likely to have preexisting health problems that may complicate their pregnancies—one more reason to keep an eye on the biological clock!
Older mothers are more likely to require an operative delivery
Forceps, vacuum extractions and inductions are more common in older mothers, and additionally, older mothers are more likely to require a C-section delivery. (A study reported in the medical journal Obstetrics and Gynecology noted that mothers over the age of 44 are 7.5 times as likely to require a C-section as younger mothers.)report abuse