By Mercy Makuwatsine
To some, age is just a number, but to others age means more than just a figure. This is the case with most people who become afraid of having their first baby at the age of 30 and above. Whilst there is nothing more precious than bringing a new life into the world, many have different myths about this age group when it comes to having their first pregnancy. But what do experts say about this age group and the risks associated with being pregnant?
Experts say many women over the age of thirty are at risk of pregnancy complications, although most in their early thirties usually have no problems with their pregnancy and deliver healthy babies.
After the age of thirty-five, most women experience difficulties and have a harder time conceiving. Having a baby after thirty-five can be risky for the mother and the baby. Women over the age of thirty-five are at a higher risk for miscarriages, having babies born with birth defects, ectopic pregnancy, low birth weights, and delivering prematurely.
Upon turning thirty, a womanâ€™s fertility begins to decrease. A decrease in fertility can make it more difficult for a woman over thirty-five to become pregnant, although it is remotely possible.
Women over the age of thirty-five are at risk of having a miscarriage because of the increase in probability of chromosomal abnormalities.
The majority of miscarriages occur within the first trimester.
As a woman gets older, chances are high that she will deliver a baby with a birth defect. Birth defects are a result of chromosome disorders. Down syndrome, a chromosome disorder caused by an additional chromosome 21, is more common in children born to women over the age of thirty-five.
However, it is not always the case that a woman over the age of thirty-five will deliver a baby with a birth defect.
Women over the age of thirty-five also have the risk of developing placenta previa. Placenta previa is a condition in which the placenta attaches to the lower part of the uterus and completely covers the opening to the cervix. This condition can cause heavy to severe bleeding during delivery and spotting along with uterus cramping in the first and second trimesters. Caesarean sections are usually the method of delivery for a mother with placenta previa.
Ectopic pregnancies are also more common in pregnant women over the age of thirty-five. In an ectopic pregnancy, the womanâ€™s egg implants outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube, causing the baby and the placenta to grow inside the fallopian tube. This type of pregnancy can be caused by a number of factors besides the motherâ€™s age including a physical blockage in the tube or previous tubal infections and/ or surgery.
Delivering a low birth-weight baby and/ or delivering prematurely are also risks for mothers who are over the age of thirty-five. These risks are mostly common in older women delivering their first child.
However, there are also some benefits for having a first pregnancy at 30. One may have some physical and psychological benefits over oneâ€™s younger counterparts. Women starting a family in their 30s or 40s might lead a healthier life-style; they are often more highly educated and better off financially. They may understand the needs of their bodies, and look after themselves better in terms of exercise and nutrition.
Mature women can have more positive perceptions of their bodies, and more readily tolerate the symptoms of pregnancy. At this age too, women often have more autonomy – independence and confidence to know what they want, and enhanced people skills to get it.
For a woman, being pregnant and having a baby are certainly the most beautiful and joyous moments of life. Pregnancy is a wonderful feeling, but it is different for every woman as it depends on a number of varying factors.
It is true that a woman when pregnant gets advice on pregnancy from almost everyone, but it is difficult to make general statements about pregnancy. Having said that, there are certain obvious risks of pregnancy after 30.
If a woman is more than 30 and planning for a baby, it is better for her to be aware of the risks of pregnancy in order to reduce the chances of risk to both herself and the unborn baby.
Nevertheless, the fact there are many risks for a pregnant woman over the age of thirty-five should not discourage a woman from conceiving. A healthy diet, good prenatal care, and regular doctor visits can help to ensure the delivery of a healthy baby.