Pregnancy for older women, is a healthy pregnancy still possible?

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Being a mother is the most fulfilling role for a woman. But experts say that the ideal age for pregnancy is from 20 to 35. Is this the end of the rope for older women who have reached 35 without having a child?

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Being a mother is the most fulfilling role for a woman. It is also one of the most wonderful experiences any woman can have. I have realized this since I got pregnant and gave birth to my first child. It was awesome looking at my baby alive and crying right after it came out of my womb and I forgot all the pain I felt during labor and child birth.

Most women of my age have already married and are mothers like me. But, I have met  a number of women friends who still do not have children  even when they have reached 36 or 40.

The best child-bearing years

Experts from the British Medical Journal say that the most ideal age for child-bearing among women is from 20 to 35 years old. Beyond that, a woman has to face risks regarding fertility and health complications.

In an article, Dr. Randy Morris, an infertility and reproductive medicine specialist writes that even though a woman is above 36, she might still be fit and healthy to have children. However, there is still a decline in fertility which comes along with a woman’s age.

Let's take a look at the topic of pregnancy for older women...

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Pregnancy for older women and complications

In addition, there is a greater risk for health complications when it comes to pregnancy for older women. Complications such as heart disease, diabetes and hypertension may arise. The risk for birth defects and miscarriage rises with age as well. At age 38, the risk of any chromosomal abnormality is 1 in 100 -- which is why women older women are advised to do prenatal testings.

I attest that it can be difficult to bear a child beyond 35, because even when giving birth to my third child at 34, I felt that my body crumble with the pain of labour.  I have given birth by normal spontaneous delivery for my first two children but I gave birth to my third child via C-section.

But, is this the end of the rope for older women who have reached 35 without having a child? Will they not have the fulfilment of being a mother? Should they just give up? Of course not! There is still hope.

An increase in pregnancy of older women

In an article from the New England Journal of Medicine, it was reported that from 1991 to 2001 the first birth among women aged 35 to 39 and those among women aged 40 to 44 have increased. There were in fact 263 births among women who are 50 to 54 in 2002. It might be unbelievable that a 50-year-old woman can have a child but it is still possible.

I have also read from an online forum a few stories of women who are over 35  and still managed to give birth to children. There is one who has given birth to her first child at 38. Another woman conceived at 39 and had given birth at 40. There are also women who have given birth to more than one child even when they were over 40.

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What to do? Pregnancy for older women

Yes, there are risks but for a woman, no risk is greater than not having a child. So, what do women who are 35 and above do to conceive and give birth to a child despite their not-so-ideal age?

First, stay healthy and fit. Eat a balanced diet. Have regular exercise. Keep a healthy lifestyle. Get  enough sleep. Most women who have given birth after 35 recommend these things. A woman’s body can endure the challenge of pregnancy, labor and childbirth when it is in good condition.

Next, consult an obstetrician-gynaecologist for a medical examination when you are trying to conceive. Ask your husband to also undergo a medical check-up if you have been trying to conceive for years. If there should be fertility issues, then go through the process. This could be costly but it is always worth the try.

I remembered my friend’s cousin Cris who had been trying to conceive. She is a teacher while her husband is an overseas maritime personnel. They had fertility and health issues so they went to a specialist and went through the process. She got pregnant with her first baby but had a miscarriage. So they tried it again and after four years, she finally became a fulfilled mother to a healthy baby girl at 37.

If the fertility treatment process does not work then there are more advanced methods of getting pregnant such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) which you can thoroughly discuss with a doctor. If you are worried about abnormalities in your child, then go for Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) along with IVF for it can screen out chromosomal abnormalities.

Steps to take to ensure you have a healthy baby

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If the treatment succeeds and pregnancy happens, then there are  steps you can take to ensure that the baby is healthy and is delivered safely.  Some of these things are as follows:

  • Have regular check-ups with your doctor.
  • Call or see your doctor when you feel or suspect any problem in your pregnancy.
  • Avoid stress.
  • Don't overwork.
  • Eat healthy and right.
  • Maintain a healthy pregnancy weight
  • Live clean - avoid food or substances that may affect your pregnancy.

Most of all, enjoy every moment. Don't worry too much because it can take a toll on your body and your emotions can affect your baby. Be happy even if you feel uncomfortable and disturbed with your situation.

Becoming pregnant and bearing children is no longer impossible even when you are beyond 35. There is still no research study that proves pregnancy could only occur at a certain age. As long as one is not yet at the menopausal stage, a woman can still bear a child.

So, go on try and try--pregnancy for older women is still possible in many cases. Good luck!