In our last post, we talked about the advantages of getting pregnant after 40.

But let’s face it, getting pregnant later in your life is certainly not without its cons. To give you a realistic idea of what it will be like, we’ve covered some of the risk of late pregnancies.

Always be sure that you’re fully prepared before taking the next step.

1. Gestational diabetes

After you hit 40, your blood pressure usually increases, which also increases the chances of developing gestational diabetes. This is about triple the risk of a younger woman, which makes glucose screening test a must.

2. Miscarriage/stillbirth

Studies have proved that older women are more likely to face a possible miscarriage compared to younger women. This is mainly due to the increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities that occur with age. Ectopic pregnancies, in which a fertilised egg implants outside of the uterus, is also more likely to happen with older mothers. Unfortunately, the risk of stillbirth is also increased.

3. Placental issues

Due to the way the placenta implants lower in the uterus, older mothers are more likely to have bleeding before their pregnancy. According to The Canadian Institute for Health Information, first-time moms over 40 have the highest rates of labour complications and interventions. Chances of placental abruption, a condition where the placenta partially or completely separates from the uterus before the baby is born, are 60 percent higher in first-time moms over 40.

4. Health problems in babies.

Birth defects and Downs’ Syndrome are more common in babies with older mothers. The child is more likely to be born with chromosomal abnormality. Although the incidence of Down syndrome is much higher in women over 35 years of age, the majority of babies with Down syndrome are born to women younger than 35 years of age because they are less likely to have testing for it. So it’s important to remember that despite the increased risk of abnormality, it is important to remember that the vast majority of babies are normal.

5. Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy condition characterised by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. When this condition occurs, the baby needs to be delivered prematurely to save the lives of the mother and baby. Women over 40 have the higher risk of having preeclampsia because most of them already have some hypertension, which is exacerbated during pregnancy.

Before conceiving at any age, you should always consult your health care provider. This will help ensure that you’re at your best possible physical condition. With careful medical monitoring and appropriate choice of medications, the risk associated with these conditions can be reduced and in most cases, will result in a healthy pregnancy and birth.

Sources: Pregnancy.au, Today’s Parent, CNN.

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