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The Hidden Health Risks of Pregnancy after 40

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Oct 01, 2013
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)
Quick Bites

  • A woman's egg viability begin to decline steeply after 40.
  • The odds of genetic abnormalities increase as women age.
  • Having a baby beyond the age of 40 can trigger diabetes during pregnancy.
  • Delivering a low-birth-weight or premature baby is hilghly likely after 40.

More

The longer you wait, the more difficult it is to get pregnant. A woman in her 40s must wary of the health risks and downsides of pregnancy.

risks of late pregnancyThe odds of getting pregnant in the 30s are much better than they are in 40s and beyond. Moreover, there are myriad of health risks. A study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility agrees with this point. Researchers found that 40-year-old women had only 25 percent chance of achieving pregnancy using their own eggs. The rate slide further by age 43; the odds of getting pregnant dropped to 10 percent. Those who achieved pregnancy, their miscarriage rate were 24 and 54 percent, for 40-year-olds and 44-year-olds respectively.

 

Egg viability

As early as 15 years before a woman goes through menopause, her eggs begin to decline. And, the eggs that are produced are more likely to have chromosomal problems which may lead to miscarriage and birth defects. Gynaecologists suggest that there's a steep drop in fertility in the 40s.

 

Miscarriage

As women age, noncancerous tumours called fibroids and endometriosis in their body increase. Besides these, the abnormal growth of the lining of a woman's uterus can lead to a miscarriage.

 

Chromosomal disorder

As a woman ages, her eggs do the same. As the eggs get older, the odds of genetic abnormalities increase.

 

Down syndrome

With age, the risk of delivering a baby with Down syndrome increases, a genetic disorder often caused by an error in cell division. There are many types Down syndrome, and the exact cause is not known.

Gestational diabetes

Having a baby beyond the age of 40 can trigger diabetes during pregnancy or you're more likely to develop problems like high blood pressure.

 

Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia, a condition of pregnancy marked by high blood pressure and protein in the urine, is more common if a woman in 40s is expecting. Women as they get into their 40s may also have some hypertension already. In this condition, the baby needs to be delivered prematurely to save the lives of both the mother and the baby.


Birth defects and infant problems

Women over 40 not only have a higher risk of delivering a low-birth-weight or premature baby but the risk of all birth complications and placental problems is high too. Children born to older mothers are at increased risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. Moreover, stillbirth rates are also higher if a mother is beyond 40 years of age.

 

The Bottom Line

If you’re in the 40s and wanting to be a mother, all these downsides can be disheartening. Some women do get pregnant well into their 40s, have complication-free pregnancies and have healthy babies.

Your chances of pregnancy are slim when you are in the 40s, in comparison to when 30s and 20s. However, your chance of achieving a pregnancy using donor eggs remains high even after you are past your 30s.

 

 

Read more articles on Pregnancy.

 

 

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Comments
  • Vaishnavi03 Oct 2013
    Pregnancy after 40 years any way sounds pretty scary in itself. I know someone who got pregnant when she was nearly about to be menopausal. She must have been really fertile to conceive at that late an age. Also, getting pregnant early is advisable for political reasons like the parents being young enough to participate in the first experiences of their child when he/she has grown big enough to earn.
  • Rekha01 Oct 2013
    Many women have questions like their chances of getting pregnant naturally after they are past 40, is birth experience for women over 40 difficult. This article gives a clear picture of how it may not be a right thing.