Birth over 35

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Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. As females age, the likelihood that they will get pregnant reduces due to the declining number of remaining eggs and their reduced quality. Fertility also declines in men with age due to declining sperm counts, motility, and semen volume. These age-related factors combined can make it more difficult for women to become pregnant.

Does Having a Baby at 35 Really Matter?

One study , published in The New England Journal of Medicine , found that among women who received artificial insemination, 74 percent of those under 31 years old were pregnant within a year. However, this decreased to 61 percent of individuals between the ages of 31 to 34, and it further declined to 54 percent of women aged 35 and over. Certain genetic risks present more often in pregnancy as women age. For example, the rate of having a baby with Down syndrome accelerates with maternal age.

While the rate of an embryo having Down syndrome at the week mark of pregnancy is 1 in 1, at age 25, this rises to 1 in at age 30 and 1 in by the age of 35 years. At the age of 40, the Down syndrome rate increases still to 1 in 53, and down to 1 in 19 embryos at age A study published in Nature Communications set out to investigate why older mothers have a heightened risk of giving birth to children with congenital anomalies that are characterized by abnormal chromosome numbers.

Is Having A Baby Over 35 As Risky As We Thought?

Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York learned that the genetic process of recombination could be responsible for the increased risk of conditions such as Down syndrome. Recombination is the process in which pairs of chromosomes exchange genetic material before separating. The team found that in older mothers, the process of recombination may be less regulated, which may lead to abnormal chromosome numbers in sex cells or large chromosomal rearrangements.

The risk of miscarriage climbs gradually with the mother's age.

Birth characteristics in England and Wales - Office for National Statistics

Research published in the BMJ showed that risk of miscarriage is around 8. The declining quality of women's eggs is thought to be responsible for the higher rates of miscarriage. Stillbirth is more likely in older women than younger women. A systematic review published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that stillbirth is around 1.

Another study , examining data from , pregnancies in the United Kingdom, observed that the rate of stillbirth was 4. Furthermore, the stillbirth rate has been shown to be higher in people having their first child and even higher in first-time moms aged 35 or older. Women aged 35 years and older are often recommended to be induced as they approach their due date because of the increasing risk of stillbirth with gestational age. Around 1 in 1, women under 35 years old have a stillbirth during 39 and 40 weeks of gestation, compared with 1.

Research comparing pregnancy complications among women aged 18 to 34 years, 35 to 40 years, and 40 and over, found small increases in most pregnancy- and birth-related complications with age. The researchers identified increases in the risk of gestational diabetes , placenta previa, breech positioning of the baby, emergency cesarean delivery, postpartum hemorrhage, preterm birth, low birth weight, and high birth weight.

Other research has found that risk of maternal mortality also increases with age.

Research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference revealed that compared with women who go through pregnancy at a younger age, pregnant women aged 40 and older are at greater risk of ischemic stroke , hemorrhagic stroke, heart attack , and death from cardiovascular disease. Adnan I. Cloud, MN. Qureshi and colleagues found that all the risks, except for hemorrhagic stroke, were explained by well-known risk factors for cardiovascular disease - such as high blood pressure , diabetes, and high cholesterol - that older pregnant women face.

Recent research published in The Journal of Physiology sheds light on why women over 35 years old are more likely to face birth complications. Researchers from King's College London in the U. In a group of mice that represented women over 35 years old, muscle contraction properties in the uterus were found to be impaired, less sensitive to oxytocin , and have reduced mitochondria numbers, all of which suggest that the uterus muscles are less able to contract properly.

Furthermore, researchers found changes in progesterone signaling, which triggered a delay in labor. Rachel M. Tribe, lead investigator of the study at King's College London. Babies who are born at a low birth weight often have more respiratory, cognitive, and neurological problems, while preterm babies are more likely to have heart defects, brain damage, lung disorders, and delayed development.

Final Thoughts

Some studies have indicated that there is an elevated risk of low birth weight under 2. The research, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology , found that the reasons are more likely to be associated with individual circumstances or behaviors that are more common in older adults. Potential candidates for these factors could be fertility problems, which are connected with poor birth outcomes, maternal stress , and unhealthy behaviors.

People deciding whether to postpone parenthood should take into account declining fertility and increases in the risk of miscarriage and birth complications. Stillbirths are relatively rare, but the risk remains higher for older women than their younger counterparts and increases in the final weeks of pregnancy. There are, of course, many plus points of putting off motherhood until after age Children of older mothers have been found to have fewer behavioral, social, and emotional difficulties.

We need to develop a different perspective on advanced maternal age. Expectant parents are typically well aware of the risks associated with late pregnancy, but they are less aware of the positive effects. In , Haavaldsen et al. The researchers looked at more than 2. To be included in the study, people had to give birth to a child at 16 weeks gestation or later.

They found that , overall, people 35 and older had higher rates of stillbirth throughout pregnancy as compared to younger people, but the risk was higher at 40, 41, 42, and 43 weeks.

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The table below shows the stillbirth rates from the entire time period, including the s and s. Keep reading below this table to learn the more current stillbirth rates! However, you have to remember that this table above included women who gave birth as long as 30 to 50 years ago. When the authors broke down the data into two separate time periods, they found very different results!

Haavaldsen et al. In the more recent studies, there is still a higher relative risk of stillbirth at the end of pregnancy among people age 35 and older, but the risk is much, much lower than it used to be. For example, it used to be that the risk of stillbirth at 42 weeks in women 40 years and older was So much about maternity care has changed in the past few decades!

Advanced Maternal Age, or Pregnancy at Age 35 or Older

Old data do not give us an accurate picture of the risks of being pregnant at age 35 or older. Reddy et al. In other words, being healthy lowers your risk of stillbirth, but if you are 35 or older, your risk as a healthy older woman is still higher when compared to a healthy younger woman. Some have guessed that maybe older women are at greater risk of uteroplacental insufficiency, caused by aging blood vessels in the uterus Huang et al. However, there is not good evidence for this theory. If placental problems were responsible for the increase in stillbirths, we would also expect to see higher rates of intrauterine growth restriction IUGR in older women.

After controlling for other risk factors, researchers have found that IUGR happens at the same rate in younger mothers as it does in mothers 35 and older Miller Mothers 35 and older had slightly higher rates of fetal distress 5. In another study of babies who were stillborn, there was no difference in the rate of growth restriction between those born to mothers over 35 and those born to younger people Froen, Gardosi et al.

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  • Yet another study done in Lebanon with women aged 40 and older found that two-thirds of the stillborn babies did not have any risk factors besides maternal age Seoud, Nassar et al. This further undermines the uteroplacental insufficiency hypothesis. Some think that the increased risk of stillbirth may be related to other health problems that are more likely to occur with aging, such as high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and other chronic medical problems.

    Age and Fertility: Pregnancy after 40

    However, as we already talked about with the Huang et al. Again, at this time, the reason for the increased risk of stillbirth in these families is unknown. Besides stillbirth, researchers have found small increases in a number of other childbirth risks in people 35 and older. One large study using data from , singleton pregnancies in the United Kingdom between the years and compared the rates of pregnancy complications between women aged 18 to 34, 35 to 40, and over 40 Jolly et al.

    Most risks were found to increase with age. The one piece of good news in here is that breastfeeding rates are higher in people 35 and older than in the younger group.