Becoming a Mother, Aged Forty and Over

ProcreaTec Madre 40 Jahr

Advice for trying to get pregnant, and pregnancy not posing a health risk

Changes in modern-day society have led to women deciding to get pregnant at a later age. In less than a decade, the average age a woman has a child, at least in European countries, has gone up from twenty-seven to thirty-two.

This is due to social changes that have occurred in recent decades which have seen women go to university and have professional careers, forcing them to postpone having children.

This social progress, however, does not favour the female biological clock. Female fertility continues to be at its highest between the ages of twenty-two and thirty-three. This helps explain the rise in the development of assisted human reproduction, which enables women to have children when they want.

It is important to be aware of the reality that surrounds us and it is clear that women today have put their desire to become mothers on hold until later in life. We believe that it is of paramount importance to inform women about the problems they face, but also provide information on medical care that can be accessed to minimise health risks.

Age-related risks include the following issues:

–   Reduced fertility as a result of increased age: although there is no reason why age should impact the overall health and fitness of women, egg quality decreases dramatically after the age of thirty-three. This is when assisted reproduction plays an important role, as it increases the chances of pregnancy, either through embryo selection or egg donation.

–   Low egg quality often results in major genetic alterations which are the main factors affecting the difficulty in producing a healthy child. For example, data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development show that as women’s age increases the risk of Down Syndrome rises exponentially.

–   Higher maternal age can also sometimes lead to an increased probability of miscarriage. More than 21% of miscarriages occur in patients over the age of forty, compared to 4.95% in patients younger than thirty (according to the Spanish Fertility Society). These miscarriages are mostly due to chromosomal abnormalities.

–   Gestational complications that result in high risk pregnancies, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, are more frequent in women aged over forty, even though they have not suffered from these conditions previously.

The following actions can help alleviate the age factor.

Prior to pregnancy:

–  Consult a specialist when you have made the decision to get pregnant; time is not in your favour.

–  Follow a healthy lifestyle, which includes keeping a healthy weight, eating a nutritional diet and getting suitable physical exercise.

–  Ensure that any conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, hypothyroidism and heart disease, are monitored. It is recommended that a specialist confirms any condition at the time you decide to try and get pregnant.

Once you have become pregnant, there are things you can do to continue helping your body through this difficult process.

During pregnancy:

–  Follow a suitable and nutritional diet. Nutritionists can be helpful during pregnancy. Proper monitoring of the correct intake of protein, vitamins and other things will help the correct development of the foetus.

–  Keep physically active by doing suitable forms of exercise and, wherever possible, avoid being physically inactive. Exercise is essential to maintain muscle tone.

–  Focus on emotional balance, your environment and mental stability, all of which have a positive impact on health during pregnancy.

– Undergo regular check-ups as stipulated by your midwife. This will enable any complications to be detected as soon as possible without putting your health at risk.

Even though having a baby over the age of forty seems to go hand in hand with complications, it is important to note that medical advances mean that most women go on to have healthy children.

At the same time, emotional balance as well as feeling confident socially and professionally can lead women to feel stable in a way that enables them to enjoy the challenge of motherhood differently. A more settled career and lifestyle can mean that women enjoy focussing time on motherhood.

If you are aged forty or over, and are thinking about becoming a mother, or haven’t yet been able to get pregnant, or haven’t yet started trying, we recommend you visit our centre. The first visit is free and we will help, in any way possible, make your pregnancy a healthy one, involving the minimum risk possible.

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