The term “advanced maternal age” refers to pregnancies where the expecting mother is older than 35 years old. Women who are pregnant and above the age of 35 have an increased likelihood of experiencing difficulties such as miscarriage, congenital abnormalities, and high blood pressure. Screening procedures are helpful in identifying certain congenital diseases. In the event of pregnancy after 35 or any kind of prenatal and postnatal care, you can always schedule an appointment with an obstetrics specialist in Weston and Pembroke Pines

What Is Geriatric Pregnancy?

Geriatric pregnancy means the same thing as advanced maternal age. It’s an outdated term used to describe the age of high-risk pregnancy, which is 35 and above. 

Pregnancy after 35 years of age is managed in a manner similar to that of a “normal” pregnancy. To ensure the health of both you and the unborn child, your doctor may recommend prenatal testing, increase the overall monitoring, or even suggest the care of a high-risk pregnancy center. When you’re at advanced maternal age, your risk for chronic disorders rises, making it all the more crucial to pay attention to your pregnancy symptoms and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Of course, it is still possible to have a healthy child and pregnancy after 35.

What Does Age of High-Risk Pregnancy Entail?

Older Happy Woman in Pregnant Resting on Armchair

As reported by medical professionals, fertility drops significantly between the ages of 35 and 40. When fertility declines, the quality and number of eggs produced also fall. However, this does not mean that becoming pregnant after age 35 is impossible. That merely implies fertility starts to diminish more rapidly beyond age 35, and the risk of problems considerably increases after that age.

Each woman has a finite amount of eggs. You ovulate each time you have your period, and a new egg is released. You might expect a decline in your total number of eggs as you age. The eggs you have left are more prone to chromosomal abnormalities that might cause hereditary genetic diseases.

The Risks Associated With Geriatric Pregnancy

There is always a possibility that something could go wrong during pregnancy, but if you are at the age of high-risk pregnancy, you or your child may be more susceptible to certain health issues, such as:

  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth
  • Premature birth
  • C-section delivery
  • Twins
  • Genetic disorders such as Down syndrome
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia 

Maternal age has a direct impact on egg quality. Consequently, the quality of an egg diminishes with age. Chromosomal abnormalities are more common in “older” eggs. Many of these chromosomal abnormalities are detected through screenings performed during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Complications tend to occur beyond age 35 because of the natural increase in potential chronic diseases. As you become older, your body changes how it handles these stressors. Pregnancy and childbirth may be impacted by some long-term illnesses. High blood pressure, for instance, is more common after the age of 35, even in people who aren’t pregnant.

The likelihood of a healthy pregnancy is still substantially higher than the likelihood of a miscarriage. The risk of having a miscarriage increases by around 20%-30% between 35 and 40 years of age. Unfortunately, that percentage starts to grow faster over 40. 

Recommended Tests at Advanced Maternal Age

All pregnant women should get genetic screening tests, but those at advanced maternal age should prioritize them. These tests are entirely noninvasive and can help determine whether your unborn child is at risk of certain genetic disorders. Ultrasounds and blood tests are commonly used for diagnostics. 

If a screening test finds some issue, invasive genetic testing may be performed. For example, amniocentesis and chronic villus sampling (CVS) can detect a genetic disorder by analyzing cells taken from the placenta. In this case, a needle is inserted through the abdomen to remove amniotic fluid from the uterus. Some genetic disorders can be identified with the help of this fluid.

Are Older Mothers-to-Be Treated Differently?

No, they’re not. Being pregnant at advanced maternal age usually doesn’t result in any special treatment from healthcare providers. On the other hand, if the results of a genetic screening test suggest that your unborn child has a congenital condition, your doctor may recommend seeing a specialist in maternal-fetal medicine. They are high-risk pregnancy center specialists that focus on helping women who are at increased health risk when pregnant. 

Sometimes, your regular doctor may recommend earlier testing or more frequent prenatal appointments. To ensure your unborn child is healthy, you may want to get screenings for things like gestational diabetes and high blood sugar early or get additional fetal heart rate monitoring or ultrasounds. Your doctor may advise you to take a baby aspirin daily for the duration of your pregnancy if you exhibit additional risk factors for preeclampsia.

The increased likelihood of certain complications makes it all the more crucial that you have excellent prenatal care as you age. That’s why it’s paramount that you don’t miss any prenatal checks, eat well, and stay at a healthy weight all through your pregnancy. 

Care Tips for Pregnant Women Over 35

Portrait of Happy Young Pregnant Model Sitting With Crossed Legs on Grass Lawn and Looking at Camera.

You can boost your odds of giving birth to a healthy baby by taking specific measures. For instance, when pregnant after the age of 35, you can:

  • Go to all of your scheduled prenatal tests and appointments.
  • Follow a healthy and nutritious diet throughout pregnancy.
  • Consult a high-risk pregnancy center if necessary.
  • Properly deal with existing or new health issues.
  • Sleep well and avoid stress as much as possible.
  • Get enough physical activity regularly. 

The key to a safe pregnancy is not just age but also general health and wellness. There has been a rise in the percentage of women of all racial groups having children in their mid to late 30s and early 40s. You can have a healthy, happy baby at age 35.

Beginning a family is a choice that each individual must make for themselves, and some people decide to wait until they are older to start a family. Gaining personal experience and financial security can be advantageous when starting a family later in life. More and more people are waiting longer to tie the knot. Also, IVF and other forms of assisted reproduction technology are becoming increasingly effective. This means that people may put off having children or growing their families with peace of mind. That said, more and more people are waiting until they are in their late 30s to start a family.

Pregnancy after 35 has a high rate of success. However, it is crucial to be aware of the risks associated with pregnancies at a more advanced maternal age. If you are 35 or older, talk to your doctor about genetic screening tests and what you can do to maintain good health. Feel free to contact us at Advanced OBGYN Institute, where we provide comprehensive care in obstetrics and gynecology for women of every age.