Pregnancy After 35 - PIH Health

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Published on August 24, 2015

Pregnancy After 35

Pregnant woman - pregnancy over 35

Pregnant woman - pregnancy over 35More and more women in United States are having babies later in life than ever before. Pursuing higher degrees, striving for career advancement and finding the right partner all contribute to this trend. But when it comes to getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy age does matter. Women are born with a finite number of eggs. As women reach their 30’s and 40’s both the quantity and quality of their eggs decrease. Fertility treatments, such as fertility drugs and in vitro fertilization (IVF), may be necessary to help with conceiving.

No matter the age, it’s important to consult your doctor for early and regular prenatal care while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. That includes:

  • eating healthy and nutritious foods
  • getting regular exercise
  • gaining a healthy amount of weight
  • taking prenatal vitamins
  • not smoking or drinking
  • not taking any medications or supplements without checking with your doctor first

“It is important to understand that chronic medical conditions, as well as health risks specific to pregnancy increase with age,” said Julia Willner MD, OB/Gyn at PIH Health La Mirada Medical Office Building.

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that only occurs during pregnancy. Strict diet and exercise are necessary to control blood sugar levels. Sometimes diabetes medications may be needed as well. If left untreated, the baby can grow to a larger than average size and be at risk for birth injuries, still birth and diabetes later in life.

Chronic high blood pressure is more common in older women. Medication or early delivery may be necessary to avoid complications. High blood pressure related to the pregnancy, known as Preeclampsia or toxemia, is marked by high blood pressure and protein in urine. It occurs when the placenta doesn’t function properly and can lead to serious complications such as eclampsia (seizures), maternal stroke or still birth.

Additionally, older women are at higher risk for placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta blocks the cervix that necessitates C-section delivery.

Advanced maternal also places patients at higher risk of having a baby with birth defects such as Down syndrome. It’s a good idea to consider “pre-conceptual counseling” to plan ahead and get informed before getting pregnant. Women who will be older than 35 years on their due date will be offered genetic counseling by their obstetrician. It will help to learn the risks and benefits to make the right choices.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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