Pregnancy over 40: Everything You Need to Know

By Vanessa McFarlane

July 29, 2019

Times are changing and it is becoming very common for women to wait longer to conceive. Whether it is a woman’s first baby, or they are adding to their families, more women are having children over the age of 40. So if you find yourself thinking about pregnancy over 40, this article will cover all the need to knows on the benefits, risks and how your pregnancy will look!

There are many benefits to childbearing later in life! Some women may have spent time establishing their careers and feel ready to make the shift to motherhood. You may also feel financially ready for a child. Some studies have also noted that women of advanced maternal age report increased levels of maternal well-being and happiness. 

With the advancement of technology, most women over the age of 40 have healthy babies. However, it is important to note that these pregnancies are still considered high risk. Pregnancy risks such a pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes increase with age. A woman over 40 may also have an increased struggle with infertility and miscarriage. Lastly, due to the increased age of the woman’s egg, there may be an increased risk of birth defects or chromosomal issues.  

 

So, what occurs during your pregnancy over 40?

 

Since some risks increase with age, your doctor or midwife will keep a close eye on you and your pregnancy to catch any potential problems early! Similarly to mothers under 40, you will be encouraged to keep up with regular prenatal appointments, eat healthy and get an appropriate amount of exercise related to your body. Talk to your health care provider for options on exercise during pregnancy. During each of your prenatal visits, your blood pressure will be taken and your urine will be monitored for protein to watch for pre-eclampsia. You will also be encouraged to take the gestational diabetes test later in your pregnancy. In Canada, mothers over the 35 will also be offered genetic and birth defect screening from their doctor or midwife. 

If you are thinking of conceiving after the age of 35, talk to your health care provider and go for a checkup. Depending on your circumstance, your health care provider may refer you to a fertility specialist. 

The age of motherhood is changing. If you find yourself waiting later in life to conceive, you are not alone. The take home message is to work closely with your health care provider if you are trying to conceive or are pregnant over 40!

Are you currently pregnant? We can help! From prenatal classes, to breastfeeding, and sleep we can help you and your babe every step along the way. You can reach out to a Mama Coach in your area or virtually!

References:
https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/tn10068
Myrskylä, M., Barclay, K., & Goisis, A. (2017). Advantages of later motherhood. Der Gynäkologe,50(10), 767. Retrieved from http://0-search.ebscohost.com.aupac.lib.athabascau.ca/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edb&AN=125560325&site=eds-live

 

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