Planning A Pregnancy After 35? Here’S What You Need To Know
“Women after 35 may need the help of assisted reproduction to conceive and in some cases, they may need to go for in vitro fertilization (IVF) or surrogacy if they don’t conceive naturally”
When Pregnancy Takes A Back Seat
In today’s scenario where women are independent and working and are entrepreneurs managing both work and home, pregnancy does take a back seat. Women want to focus on their career first and then childbearing which leads to the situation of planning a pregnancy after 35 years of age. And though we say age is just a number, in terms of pregnancy, age carries a lot of significance and is not merely a number. Thus, women who delay conceiving, should be aware of a few things they might face.
Getting pregnant may be a little difficult, as women have a fixed number of eggs in their ovaries and this number of eggs and their quality deteriorates after a certain age. So, there may be difficulty in getting pregnant, but it doesn’t mean women can’t conceive naturally.
Sometimes, women may also need the help of assisted reproduction to conceive and in some cases, they may need to go for in vitro fertilization (IVE) or surrogacy if they don’t conceive naturally. Also, chances of having multiple pregnancies also increase after 35 years of age and the chances are more if it is an assisted conception.
What You Need To Know
- Pregnancy loss and miscarriage rate is higher in elderly women as compared to younger women.
- Prenatal care should start early, at least two months prior to conception. In such cases folic acid help prevent neural tube defects (defects in brain and spinal cord) in the baby.
- The doctor will advise some prenatal tests for detection of chromosomal abnormalities such as Downs’s syndrome and some rare syndromes such as Patau’s syndrome and Edward’s syndrome.
- Risk of chromosomal abnormalities increases with increasing age and thus prenatal testing for certain defects should start early in the pregnancy – between 11 weeks to 13 weeks.
Nuchal translucency should be done for detection of Down’s syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities. Besides this, one may be offered double, triple and quadruple marker test for estimation of risk of the baby having a chromosomal abnormality. These tests much be taken and in case the results place one in the high risk category, confirmatory tests such as amniocentesis or CVS (Chorionic Villus Sampling) may be needed. At 20 weeks, anomaly scan is a must – to rule out congenital abnormalities.
Complications To Be Aware Of
One is also are more likely to get diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes), so strict control of diet and blood sugars is required and the need to start insulin may be required if one is diabetic during pregnancy. Diabetes in pregnancy may cause the baby to be large in size and there are chances of injury caused to the baby during delivery. Also, after delivery, strict monitoring of sugars for the baby is also very important in such cases.
A woman over 35 is also at a risk of developing hypertension (increased blood pressure). Thus, it should be strictly monitored during pregnancy at each antenatal visit and sometimes medication too, will be required to keep it in control. Additionally, if it is associated with protein in the urine, it may give rise to a condition called pre-eclampsia, which may need termination of the pregnancy before the expected date of delivery, to save the mother and the baby from the certain complications.
Late pregnancy may also result in having a preterm delivery or slow growth of the baby (intrauterine growth restriction) and there are more chances of having a caesarean section for delivery.
Precautions And Safety Measures
In spite of all the problems mentioned, most women who conceive after 35, have a healthy baby. But there are a few precautions that one should take to maximise their health and the baby’s health during pregnancy:
- Always keep the doctor’s appointments
- Get early and regular prenatal and antenatal care
- Eat a healthy well-balanced diet, exercise regularly, take prenatal vitamins and nutrients (iron, calcium and vitamin D) regularly
- Gain recommended weight during pregnancy
- Consider getting all prenatal tests for detection of chromosomal abnormalities
- Stop smoking and quit alcohol once pregnant
The risk of having any serious problems is very low, but awareness about it does help to identify problems at the earliest. Once issues mentioned here are taken care of, the pregnancy phase can be enjoyed.