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Pregnancy In Women
35 Years or Older

Pregnancy In Women 35 Years or Older


Why Is Being Over 35 Years Old of Concern?
Women who get pregnant after 35 are more likely to have babies born with chromosomal abnormalities. Chromosomes are chemicals that carry instructions that control how parts of the baby will grow and develop. Down syndrome is the most common chromosome abnormality. Babies born with a chromosome problem may have mental retardation as well as physical abnormalities such as heart problems or body parts that are not shaped normally.
Why Do These Problems Occur?
Women are born with all the eggs in their bodies that can form babies. As women get older, these eggs also get older. When women near the age of 35, some of these eggs begin to break down. If one of these abnormal eggs helps to form a baby, an abnormality in the baby will result.
Almost one out of 100 women who get pregnant after age 35 may have this kind of abnormal baby. By the time women are past 40, the chances may reach one out of 13.
How Can I Find Out If My Baby Is Genetically Normal?

Early in your pregnancy, your doctor may suggest a choice of two different types of blood tests and/or ultrasound. These screening tests allow your doctor to discover what the chances are for your baby to have a problem. If your chances are high, special tests called chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis can be done. With these tests, chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome can be found. These studies cannot detect all abnormalities. In any pregnancy, there is always a small possibility of a birth defect being present. More information regarding CVS and amniocentesis will be given to you if you and your doctor decide the test may be needed.

If these tests are abnormal, you and your doctor will discuss the nature of the possible problems and what actions may need to be taken.

If My CVS or Amniocentesis is Normal and I go Ahead With The Pregnancy What Other Problems Might Happen?

Women over 35 have a slightly higher chance of having diabetes during their pregnancy. Your doctor may do a simple blood test to check for this. If diabetes is found, more information will be given to you.

There may be an increased chance of having problems with high blood pressure, bleeding, and problems with labor. Some of these problems may increase the possibility of having to have a cesarean or surgical delivery.

There may also be a small but greater chance of having a miscarriage or stillbirth (baby dying late in pregnancy). The baby also has a small but higher chance of being larger or smaller in size than the normal range for babies.

However, if the mother keeps her appointments and allows her doctor to keep a close watch on her and the baby, most problems can be minimized. The chances of having a healthy, enjoyable pregnancy will still be very good. 

If The Baby's Father Is Over 35 Years Old, Will The Baby Have A Higher Chance Of Having Abnormalities?
No. In general the father’s age has little or no effect on whether or not the baby will develop birth defects.

Copyright © 1980, 1986, 1988 Advanced Medical Systems, Inc.

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