Risks of Advanced Maternal Age

Getting pregnant can be very exciting. It can also be very scary if you are of advanced maternal age, which is 35 years old, and over. There are a lot of risks that a woman takes when she gets pregnant after she is 35 years old.

The risk of having a baby with Down syndrome is considerably higher if a woman is over 35 years old. At age 30 the risk is 1 in 1,000 at age 35 1 in 400 and age 40 the risk is 1 in 100. The risk increases even more in women 49 years old in which 1 in 10 babies will have Down syndrome.

Women of advanced maternal age are also at a higher risk of pregnancy complications such as placenta previa. Women who are over 30 are twice as likely to have placenta previa than younger women are.

Women who are over age 35 are twice as likely to get gestational diabetes than younger women are. This could result in an extra large baby, which puts the baby at risk for injury during delivery and health problems. It also puts the mom at risk for a complicated delivery and possible c-section.

Other medical complications include high blood pressure, which is more common in pregnant women over 35 than in younger women.

A woman of advanced maternal age runs the risk of having a baby that is less than 5 ½ lbs, or even a premature baby. 

The risk of a cesarean section delivery is higher with woman over 35. Possibly partly due to the risk of gestational diabetes and a large baby.

Miscarriage is another risk of advanced maternal pregnancy. If a woman is 35 to 39 years of age studies have shown that, she is twenty percent more likely than younger women to have a miscarriage. Those statistics increase with age. From 40 to 44 years old the risk increases to thirty five percent. The rate increases to fifty percent in women 45 years of age and older.

The rate of miscarriage in woman over 35 increases considerably.  

The risk for a stillborn baby is extremely high for women over 40. The rate is two to three times higher than younger women.

A woman over 35 has an increased chance of having twins because as women get older they are more likely to release more than one egg at a time.

It is possible to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby after the age of 35. The risks are higher, however if a woman has good prenatal care she will increase her risk of having a healthy baby.