In much of the industrialized world, social, educational, and demographic changes have led to an increasing number of women postponing their pregnancies until later in life. Later marriage, second marriage, and pursuit of education or careers are examples of this. This social trend, combined with the accessibility to birth control and infertility treatment, has increased the proportion of women experiencing their first pregnancy after 35 years of age.
Over the last 50 years, the average age for first pregnancy has been increasing. Advanced maternal age is defined as giving birth at age 35 or older. While many women over 35 will have easy, uncomplicated pregnancies, there are several risk factors to consider.
Most first trimester miscarriages result from a chromosomal abnormality, often an incorrect number of chromosomes. Most of these are incompatible with life which is why the miscarriage occurs. A few chromosomal abnormalities are compatible with in utero life, and these are the ones for which genetic screening tests are available. Specifically, these are trisomy 21 (3 copies of chromosome 21, or Down syndrome), trisomy 18 (3 copies of chromosome 18), and trisomy 13 (3 copies of chromosome 13). The chances of having a pregnancy affected by Down syndrome are
Optimizing maternal health is an important goal before becoming pregnant, especially for those women who will be over 35. Advanced maternal age carries an increased risk of
Advanced maternal age also carries an increased risk of Cesarean section. A Danish study found that the Cesarean section rate doubled in women age 35-39 and tripled in women over 40.
The providers at Northside Northpoint OB/GYN have the experience and expertise to provide comprehensive and compassionate care for your advanced maternal-age pregnancy.