Increasing numbers of women are delaying their first pregnancy until they are in their late 30’s and early 40’s as with any life choices we make this has pro’s and cons.
Addressing the potential problems first;
Fertility does decrease with age and so for some couples it may take a little longer to get pregnant or they may need to look at ways of assisting conception. Fertility guidelines indicate that if you are over 35 and haven’t got pregnant after 6 months of trying then seek medical advice.
When a pregnancy occurs after 35 there are increased risks, including an increased risk of Downs Syndrome occurring. There are screening and diagnostic tests that will be discussed with you so that you are able to make an informed choice as to the best option for you and your partner1
It is likely that you will be recommended to opt for consultant obstetrician lead care because of the potential increased risk of baby being smaller than expected, usually ultrasound scans are offered to monitor baby’s growth, the other risk factors being increased risk of complications both during pregnancy and during labour 2 It’s important to keep perspective though and many women have no problems at all.
On the plus side for more mature mums there is an increased breast feeding rate, there is also that general feeling of being more assured and confident in your own capabilities because of life experience and the most important, a wanted baby – it cant get much better than that for a child growing up in that family.
1 Wald NJ, Rodeck C, Hackshaw AK, Walters J, Chitty L,Mackinson AM. First and second trimester antenatal screening for Down’s syndrome: the results of the Serum, Urine and Ultrasound Screening Study (SURUSS). Health Technol Ass 2003:7(11).
2 Gilbert W, Nesbitt T, Danielsen B, Childbearing beyond age 40: pregnancy outcome in 24,032 cases, Obstetrics and Gynaecology Volume 93 Issue 1 Jan 1999 pages 9-14