Age 40+ Pregnancies: The Risks and Benefits

By Tanya Mayer

Many women who are 40+ have the belief that they can’t carry and give birth to a healthy baby. But the truth is that the health of your newborn is more about your biological age than your chronological age. While there are some risks to giving birth in your 40s, there also numerous benefits. According to research, children born to women at this stage of life tend to be healthier, safer and more intelligent. However, the mother has to be in good health and avoid bad habits like smoking and drinking alcohol.

While your age can affect your pregnancy, studies show that there is no specific age bracket where your eggs become infertile. In fact, a 34-year-old woman is biologically similar to a 24-year-old woman. Yes, you read that correctly. Research shows that an older woman is more like to give birth to a healthier child compared to a woman who is 18 years old. Research further shows that women who give birth in their late teens have a higher risk of experiencing health-related issues than a woman in her mid to late 30s. For those who are 40+, 1 in 5 of them will have trouble getting pregnant. However, if you maintain a healthy weight, you’ll be at lower risk of the complications of an older pregnancy.

Just like younger pregnancies, older pregnancies have their own risks. With an increase in age, the quality of the eggs may deteriorate and lead to an increased risk of miscarriage. This is mostly caused by weaker chromosomes in the eggs which can be easily damaged. As a result, the baby is at high risk of developing birth defects and other genetic issues like Down syndrome and autism. Conceiving in your 40s may also pose a health risk of developing high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and other pregnancy complications. This is why ultrasound is crucial at this stage of life to determine the chances of such problems and provide an accurate picture of your baby’s health.

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