You’ve been told that you’re of “advanced maternal age,” even though you’re feeling more than ready to begin (or add to) your family. While having children after the age of 40 may carry more risks, it’s certainly something we don’t want to discourage, as many women create wonderful families later in life.
As part of our wide range of health services here at Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley, Dr. Fernando Otero and our team offer high-risk obstetrics. This branch of our practice is designed to help women who are at higher risk successfully navigate pregnancy and birth, especially after the age of 40.
The potential risks of pregnancy after 40
Let us first underscore the fact that many women successfully have children after the age of 40 and our goal here isn’t to unnecessarily frighten you. That said, it’s important that you understand some of the risks so we can do everything in our power to mitigate them.
One of the first risks of pregnancy after 40 is not being able to get pregnant at all. At this point in your reproductive life, your eggs aren’t as numerous or viable as they once were, so you may encounter difficulty with fertility.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, women over the age of 35 are more likely to have multiple babies, which is something to keep in mind.
Once you get pregnant, we need to ensure that you and your unborn child (or children!) stay safe through the pregnancy and delivery, as women over the age of 40 are more at risk for:
- High blood pressure and preeclampsia
- Gestational diabetes
- Pregnancy loss
- Birth defects
- Premature delivery and low birth weight
Again, we emphasize the fact that you’re more at risk for these issues, which certainly doesn’t mean you’ll develop them.
On the other side of the advanced maternal age equation, some studies suggest that having children after the age of 40 reduces cognitive decline and increases your lifespan.
Navigating a high-risk pregnancy
To help you stay one step ahead of your health, and your unborn baby’s growth and development, we provide you with a higher level of prenatal care as we closely monitor your pregnancy. With this type of vigilance, we can spot any potential problems and take swift action.
As well, we give you guidance that will help keep both you and your unborn child healthy, such as dietary counseling, exercise recommendations, and stress-reduction techniques.
While we enjoy providing high-risk obstetric services right from the start, we can start this higher level of care anytime during your pregnancy up to your 36- or 37-week mark.
If you’d like to learn more about pregnancy after the age of 40, please contact one of our two offices in McAllen or Edinburg, Texas, to set up a consultation.