What is advanced maternal age?
Advanced maternal age is a medical term to describe people who are over age 35 during pregnancy. Pregnancies have an increased risk for certain complications when the birth parent is 35 or older. Some of these complications are higher rates of miscarriage, genetic disorders, and certain pregnancy complications like high blood pressure or gestational diabetes.
Advanced maternal age pregnancy isn’t treated much differently than a typical pregnancy. Your healthcare provider may suggest prenatal testing and monitor you more closely. Being mindful of your pregnancy symptoms and staying healthy becomes even more important when you’re over age 35 because your risk for chronic conditions increases.
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Despite these risks, people can have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies after 35.
What age are you considered advanced maternal age?
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You’re considered of advanced maternal age if you will be 35 or older at the time of your due date.
Is advanced maternal age the same as geriatric pregnancy?
Yes, they’re the same. Geriatric pregnancy is an outdated term and most healthcare providers prefer to use the term advanced maternal age.
Is it harder to get pregnant if you are over 35?
Healthcare providers have discovered that the biggest decline in fertility happens in your mid-to-late 30s. A decline in fertility means the quality and quantity of eggs in your ovaries decreases. This doesn’t mean getting pregnant after 35 is impossible (it’s very possible). It means 35 is the age when fertility starts to decline more rapidly and your chances for complications increase more significantly.
How does advanced maternal age affect my eggs?
You’re born with a set number of eggs. You release an egg at ovulation each menstrual cycle. The older you get, the fewer eggs you have. The eggs you do have are more likely to have chromosomal issues that lead to genetic disorders. A genetic disorder is a condition present at birth.
What are the risks associated with having a baby after 35?
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All pregnancies come with risks; however, you or your baby are at increased risk for the following conditions when you are of advanced maternal age:
- Gestational diabetes.
- Premature birth or low birth weight.
- Expecting twins.
- Down syndrome or other genetic disorders.
- Cesarean section (c-section).
Why are there more complications if you’re over 35 and pregnant?
Advanced maternal age is associated with a decrease in egg quality. This means that as your age goes up, your egg quality goes down. “Older” eggs are more likely to cause chromosomal anomalies. A lot of these chromosomal anomalies are what healthcare providers screen for in the first trimester.
Another reason there are more complications after 35 is that your chances of developing most chronic medical conditions increase as you age. Your body simply responds to these conditions differently once you are older. These chronic medical conditions can affect pregnancy and delivery. For example, even a nonpregnant person is more likely to have high blood pressure at 35 than at 25.
What are the benefits of having a baby after 35?
Starting a family is a personal decision, and many people choose to wait until later in life to have children. One of the benefits of having a baby later in life is having more life experience and financial stability. Couples are getting married later than they were decades ago. Assisted reproductive technologies (like in vitro fertilization or IVF) are getting more successful. This means people may delay starting or expanding their families. Studies show the rate of people having their first baby in their late 30s is rising every year.
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