Pregnancy Concerns Due to Age
Question: I’m 39 and really want to have another baby but I’m worried about my age being “high risk.”
Congratulations, you are among one of the fastest-growing age groups of American women having babies between the age of 35 and 40. First, remember, the “high risk” label reflects only a statistical probability. This means that women over the age of 35 have a slightly increased chance of having medical complications during pregnancy. They include prematurity, breach, placenta previa, preeclampsia, miscarriage, chromosomal abnormality, gestational diabetes, and high blood pressure. Again, this is strictly a slight statistical increase.
High Responsibility Pregnancy
Consider this good news. Mature mothers in their thirties are more likely to take better nutritional care of themselves. They make wiser choices in assembling their birth team and choosing the best birthplace. They are also inclined to ask more insightful questions when interviewing and selecting an obstetrician and/or midwife. We prefer the term “high responsibility pregnancy” rather than “high risk pregnancy.” This means that you have a greater responsibility to take good prenatal care of yourself and choose wise medical caregivers. Also, since you’re already a mother, you are better prepared to make wise birth choices and take good nutritional and medical care of yourself during your pregnancy.
Do not Dwell on “High Risk”
I strongly advise you not to think, and especially not to dwell, on yourself as “high risk.” The reason that I advise you not to put yourself in this category is that unresolved, ongoing maternal stress throughout pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, can cause hormonal havoc in your growing baby. That itself can lead to an increased chance of behavioral problems later on.
Scratch the term “high risk” and enjoy your “mature” pregnancy.
Written By: Martha Sears, R.N
Martha is the mother of Dr. Bill’s eight children, a registered nurse, a former childbirth educator, a La Leche League leader, and a lactation consultant. Martha is the co-author of 25 parenting books and is a popular lecturer and media guest drawing on her 18 years of breastfeeding experience with her eight children (including Stephen with Down Syndrome and Lauren, her adopted daughter). Martha speaks frequently at national parenting conferences and is noted for her advice on how to handle the most common problems facing today’s mothers with their changing lifestyles. Martha is able to connect with both full-time, stay-at-home mothers and working mothers because she herself has experienced both styles of parenting. Martha takes great pride in referring to herself as a “professional mother” and one of her favorite quips when someone voices their concern about her having eight children in an already populated world is: “The world needs my children.”