Time Out Kids UAE
Bumps & babies
Women are having babies later but how old is too old, and what does getting pregnant over 40 mean?
WOMEN ARE HAVING babies later in life, in fact, one in 25 babies are born to a woman over 40. But how healthy is it really to get pregnant when you’re older?
With all the negative headlines, it can be easy to feel gloomy about trying to conceive when you’re over 35. But, having a baby over 40 is an increasing phenomenon with plenty of reasons as to why women are delaying it from career progression and looking for the right partner to struggling with infertility.
Laboratory Director and Clinical Embryologist at Orchid Fertility Clinic in Dubai, Maria Banti, says that while there are risks associated with trying to conceive over 40, there are benefits too.
“It is well know that egg quality decreases as a woman’s age increases. This means that the chances of a pregnancy at this age drop significantly. Also, the risk of miscarriage increases due to increased chromosomal abnormalities detected in the embryos. Therefore, the chances of delivering a healthy baby are lower in comparison to younger women,” says Banti.
On the plus side, she adds that: “The benefits of conceiving at this age are that women are usually more financially stable and since they have established their career, they can devote more time to raise a child.
Also, there have been reports that show that women of older age appeared to have children with sharper cognitive ability in comparison to younger women.”
Dr Vassiliki Simoglou, a counselling psychologist and fertility specialist at Thrive Wellbeing Centre, whose doctoral research in the University of Paris focused on infertility,
IVF and egg donation procedures, agrees and points out that, “with advanced age often comes advanced maturity and a bigger life experience, which can be very beneficial for a baby’s mental and physical development. Mothers of advanced age, because they often have made the deliberate choice to have a baby after having reached certain personal or professional milestones, experience motherhood with more awareness, determination and therefore a better access to resources. They have been found to be emotionally available, attuned with their baby’s needs, and well informed in order to offer the baby the physical, cognitive and emotional support and stimulation he/she needs.”
“Women are having babies later in life”
If you’re considering, or are faced with little choice but to have a baby later on in life, what should you be doing to maximise the chances of falling pregnant?
“Maintaining a healthy physical condition, by maintaining a healthy weight, a healthy lifestyle with frequent exercise, healthy eating, no smoking, no alcohol and making sure to supplement with folic acid prior to conception, in order to prevent neural tube defects and prenatal vitamins to ensure there’s no deficiency, a few months preconception,” explains Simoglou.
“Also, and equally importantly, by maintaining a healthy mental condition: practicing self-care, where healthy habits like journaling and meditation become part of a woman’s routine, enhancing her communication skills, sustaining healthy relationships, etc. In case important struggles or issues arise in the process of trying to conceive later, get adequate medical and psychological help.”
The overall message? While it may still better to have children in your twenties or early thirties if you can, don’t panic if you’re not in a position to start a family until you’re older. You’re not too old to get pregnant, and you still have a good chance.