Research shows that more women are giving birth later in life. There are so many reasons that could be responsible for this – infertility, lack of finance, late marriage and career or educational pursuit. Whatever the reason for staring a family later in life, it is important that a woman and her partner understand the implications.
Age is one of the most important factors affecting a woman’s fertility. The older a woman is at pregnancy, the greater her risk of not having a healthy baby. Age significantly affects fertility, pregnancy and childbirth. These are some very important things you should know about how age can affect pregnancy and childbirth:
By early thirties, a woman’s fertility begins to experience a natural decline. As a woman ages, the number, condition and quality of her eggs diminish
The older a woman gets, the higher her chances of ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that develops outside the womb) and miscarriage
Medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and planceta previa are more common in older women. These complications can be severe and life-threatening
The risk of having a baby with certain birth disorders like Down’s syndrome, and heart abnormalities increases with age
The number of low birth weight and premature delivery also increases as a woman gets older. Babies born with very low birth weight and prematurely are more likely to develop serious medical conditions
Women aged forty and above are more likely to give birth through cesarean section because there is a likelihood of prolonged labor and fetal distress
As a woman gets older IVF success declines
Despite the risks involved in late pregnancy, an older woman can nevertheless still have a complication-free pregnancy, safe delivery and a healthy baby. Such women can also recover fast from childbirth and live a healthy life.