Pregnancy After 35: The Risks of Advanced Maternal Age

An older term used in the medical community to refer to pregnancies among women over 35 is “geriatric pregnancy age.” Instead, doctors now refer to it as advanced maternal age, or AMA.

If you are over 35 and pregnant, you may be familiar with the phrase “geriatric pregnancy.” Given the likelihood, you are unlikely to be eligible for any senior discounts at this time, so you may be perplexed as to why your pregnancy has been classified as geriatric.

An older term used in the medical community to refer to pregnancies among women over 35 is “geriatric pregnancy.” Instead, doctors now refer to it as advanced maternal age, or AMA.

What to anticipate if you are a pregnant woman in this age range.

Advanced Mother Age (AMA): What is it?

Pregnancy in individuals 35 years of age and beyond is referred to medically as “advanced maternal age,” or “AMA.”

More babies than ever before are born to individuals in this age range today.

In a 2014 report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source reported an increase in the proportion of women giving birth to their first child between the ages of 35 and 39. In this age range, first births were six times more likely in 2014 compared to the 1970s.

According to the same 2014 CDC data, the rates of pregnant women having their first child even in their 40s are up to four times greater than they used to be.

Annually, birth rates do fluctuate, occasionally declining as opposed to increasing. There are fewer births in 2020 than there were in 2019 across all age groups, according to CDC dataTrusted Source. This was the first decline in the number of births among those over 40 since 1981.

In general, nevertheless, it is more typical than it was in past generations to start a family after the age of 35 or 40.

Why is “advanced maternal age” even a word that is necessary if pregnancy after 35 isn’t all that uncommon? The reason is that there are certain possible dangers associated with pregnancy in this age group. Next, we’ll examine these.

What are the possible risks of pregnancy in old age?

There is always some danger involved in getting pregnant, no matter how old you are. However, the likelihood of problems increases with age.

Later in life, pregnancies are more likely to have abnormalities because you are born with the same eggs you will have for the rest of your life.

Age-related changes in your health may also have an impact on your pregnancy. For instance, endometriosis and fibroids are more common as people age.

Among the dangers associated with an older mother during pregnancy include Reliable Source:

  • premature birth
  • low birth weight in the baby
  • miscarriage
  • stillbirth
  • chromosomal abnormalities
  • birth defects
  • problems during labor, like early labor
  • cesarean delivery
  • preeclampsia, a dangerous type of hypertension
  • gestational diabetes
  • multiple births, like triplets or twins

Growing older also increases your riskReliable source for persistently high blood pressure.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology reports that more patients than ever before experience chronically high blood pressure during pregnancy. Pregnancies among individuals with high blood pressure increased by 69% between 2000 and 2009. The increase was significantly greater for African Americans, rising by 87 percent.

Pregnancy problems like the following can result from persistently high blood pressure:

  • early delivery via cesarean section
    severe bleeding following childbirth (postpartum hemorrhage)
  • stroke due to gestational diabetes
    accumulation of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema)
    renal failure

Managing your health prior to, during, and following delivery is the most effective approach to lower these risks. Although this holds true for all ages, anyone over 35 should pay particular attention to it.

What advantages exist?

There are benefits to having a child later in life besides bad news and health hazards. The good news regarding starting a family after 35 doesn’t end there.

For instance, according to the CDC Trusted Source, waiting to have children generally has a lot of advantages. Higher earnings and greater education provide older parents with greater means to raise their kids.

When should you consult your physician?
The health of your pregnancy cannot be determined by your age alone. But if you are pregnant and over 35, you should consult your physician.

In order to ensure that your pregnancy is healthy, your doctor may probably advise some additional monitoring along the way.

If you’re older, you may be concerned that your advanced age may make your pregnancy, labor, and delivery more difficult. However, over-35-year-old pregnancies can be quite healthy.

It is best to visit your doctor as soon as possible before attempting to conceive. They can assist you in beginning the process of preparing for a safe pregnancy. This may consist of:

  • maintaining a healthy diet
  • keeping a healthy weight, abstaining from drugs, drinking, and smoking, and taking a prenatal vitamin containing folic acid before getting pregnant

Additionally, as soon as you find out you are pregnant, you should schedule prenatal treatment with your doctor. Discuss with your physician the best ways to maximize the quality of your pregnancy and reduce the likelihood of problems.

You can also discuss the possibility of electing to undergo screening tests to determine the fetus’s (baby’s) health. Some of these tests must be completed early in the pregnancy if you choose to employ screening testing.

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