You feel young and ready to take on the challenges of building a family, only to have the words, “advanced maternal age,” temper your excitement. Rest assured, plenty of women successfully navigate pregnancy and childbirth after the age of 35, but your risks for complications are higher, which is why you should seek a higher standard of care.
At Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley, OB/GYN Dr. Fernando Otero and Dr. Norma Garcia are well-versed in helping women through high-risk pregnancies. To help you understand the potential challenges that advanced maternal age presents, we review some of them here.
Getting pregnant may not be so easy
One of the first challenges of advanced maternal age is that getting pregnant may not be as easy. As a woman, you carry a finite and set number of eggs, which you release during your menstrual cycles.
The number of viable eggs you possess may begin to dwindle in your mid-30s and beyond, which can make getting pregnant after the age of 35 a little trickier. If you’ve been unsuccessful after six months of trying, we urge you to come see us so that we can discuss how to help the process along.
The importance of a preconception check-up
Even if you’re not sure whether you’ll encounter any difficulties getting pregnant, it’s important for women of advanced maternal age to undergo a preconception evaluation with us.
Our goals during this check-up are to:
- Manage any preexisting conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension
- Place you on certain supplements, such as folate
- Recommend lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or quitting smoking
Women over 35 are more susceptible to conditions like gestational diabetes and hypertension, which is why we want to ensure that any preexisting problems with these conditions are well under control before you embark on a pregnancy.
Managing your pregnancy
While we recommend comprehensive prenatal care for all pregnant women, regardless of age, this type of care is especially important for women of advanced maternal age. After 35, not only do your eggs decline in quantity, they also decline in quality, which can lead to complications, such as:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Pregnancy loss
- Low birth weight
- Premature birth
- Cesarean section because of complications
Through our high-risk prenatal care, we monitor your pregnancy much more closely so that we can catch any potential problems early on. As well, we may perform extra tests, such as prenatal screening at the 12-week mark, to check the risks for any chromosomal abnormalities.
Ultimately, we want to underscore the point that many women successfully build families after age 35, and we don’t want the information above to overly alarm you. That said, it’s important to understand that your risks are heightened, which is why you need an experienced team like ours to oversee your pregnancy.
To learn more about the unique considerations for women of advanced maternal age, contact one of our two offices in McAllen or Edinburg, Texas, to set up a consultation.