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Pregnancy After 35: All You Need to Know

Statistically an increasing number of women are getting pregnant after age 35.  In fact, the number of older mothers or as some doctors like to call it, mothers of an advanced maternal age, is increasing not only in the USA but in other countries as well.

Why More Women are Delaying Pregnancy

According to statistics, one in five women today delays pregnancy until after the age of 35. In fact, over the last 15 or so years there has been a whopping 50 percent increase in first births to women over 40 years old. The reasons for this are many, but the most common ones are:

  • Getting a career going – Many women delay childbirth to concentrate on building up a career first. Once on a career path, some women find it difficult to take time out for marriage and children.
  • Ensuring that they are financially secure
  • Improved medical treatment and prenatal tests

Improvement in fertility treatments have made it possible for women to
conceive and have a healthy, normal pregnancy and baby despite advancing age. Prenatal tests have also helped in that couples can know whether or     not a fetus will have any genetic abnormalities or defects such as Down     Syndrome.

Of course, one cannot forget the stories of celebrities who have given birth after age forty. The list includes actresses such as Halle Berry, Nicole Kidman, and most recently 48-year old Nancy Grace. They have given hope to legions of women who would have at one time thought they had let the opportunity of motherhood slip by.

The proliferation of online support groups of and for women who have successfully became moms after age 35, whether for the first or tenth time offers added inspiration.

Fertility and Older Women

One interesting fact about getting pregnant at an older age is that although fertility levels fall, the odds of having twins increases. While the use of fertility treatment increases the occurrence of multiples, older women can also naturally have twins without medical intervention.

Interestingly, despite what anyone may think, women over 35 and in their forties having babies is nothing new. If we check back into our family histories we will find that there have been many births to mothers who were well past 35. I know for a fact that my mom and at least one aunt had children while in their forties.

Risks Associated with Getting Pregnant After 35

While it is true that the risk to both mother and baby increases after age 35, it is really not as high as you may be led to believe. In fact, once a woman over age 35 is healthy and has no fertility issues, she has almost the same chance of a healthy baby as a 20-year old. Nonetheless, there are a few things to be aware of if you are over 35 and trying to get pregnant. The main ones are:

  • The risk of miscarriage increases
  • Fertility levels do start to drop drastically after 35
  • Health problems for the woman after 35 include gestational diabetes and hypertension, as well as endometriosis and fibroids. But these can be managed with a combination of medication and lifestyle changes, such as improved diet and exercise.
  • The need for c-section increases, however, many women over 35 have had normal deliveries without the need for surgical intervention.
  • Increased risk of Down Syndrome. It is a medical fact that a woman aged 40 has about 9 times higher chance of having a baby with this chromosomal defect than a 30 year old woman. Don’t start to panic, in statistical terms that is still less than 1 percent, but does increase with age.

So, while age 20 to 24 is the most fertile period of a woman’s life, for many this is not the right time for them to become mothers. In  today’s world, most 20 – 24-year old women are still studying or focusing on climbing the career ladder and in fact, finding themselves. Few are ready at this stage to start a family.

Preparing for Pregnancy after 35

If you are over 35 and thinking of having a baby, here are a few things you can do to improve your chances:

  • Get a pre-conception check-up, in fact, it is a good idea for the father-to-be to get one as well. It’s important to know from the get go that physically you are OK.
  • Look at your diet to ensure that you are eating properly. Forgo caffeine, excessive alcohol, and drugs if you are serious about getting pregnant. If you are on any special medication talk to your doctor before trying to conceive.  Make sure to add folic acid to your supplements as it has been proven to help prevent some neural defects in fetuses.
  • Maintain a moderate level of physical activity. If you used to exercise prior to getting pregnant there is generally no need to stop, but be guided by your doctor. However, it is not advisable to pick up exercising as a new activity while pregnant, except for walking.

The Pros and Cons of Later Life Pregnancy

Apart from the medical issues that can occur with pregnancy and motherhood later in life, other negative issues can occur. These are few however, and include being able to adjust to the changes a baby and young child will cause to a well-structured life. However, in many instances this is countered by the joy a new baby brings. Plus older mothers know that being able to have a child at an older age is a blessing and are more than ready for any change in their circumstances. In fact, older mothers tend to be less ambivalent about their pregnancies and children overall.

It is true that recovery can take longer in older women after delivery, whether by natural birth or c-section. However, because most older mothers have already achieved financial stability they can afford to get help to assist with household chores or caring for the baby if they wish.

Pregnancy at any age comes with risks, but the birth of a precious child is a joy and blessing regardless of the mother’s age.

Author: Jessica McCurdy Crooks

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155 Comments on "Pregnancy After 35: All You Need to Know"

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2 years 11 months ago

I am 41 with a gaul bladder full of gaul stones , ive had 8 children successfully all on contraception Im on waiting list for gaulbladder removal and hysterectomy, Ive just found out I’m pregnant and ime devistated i need to loose weight desperatly any advice

3 years 35 minutes ago

Hi I’m 35 I had a miscarriage at 29 and I have a fibroid in my womb. I also have osteoporosis in my spine. I am now 6weeks pregnant by a guy I was seeing after 2weeks and I really don’t know what to do! I would love a baby, but not in theses circumstances! He also does not want children.But I am scared this may be my only chance X

3 years 8 days ago

I have an overgrowth of cells in my pituitary gland that stopped my menstrual cycle for 13 yrs. 2 years ago it started out of nowhere when I was 35. I’m now 37 and only had intercourse with my husband once last month and now I’m 5 weeks pregnant. I thought I would never have kids but I guess the universe had other plans for me!

3 years 5 months ago

Thank you for the article! I am 30, finishing grad school, and my husband is 36. We are ready to have a child and have been trying to conceive about 4 months without success. I am little disappointed and don’t know what to do!

3 years 5 months ago

Hi I am 37 had an abortion when I was twenty and then at 25 had one tube removed. Still have a very regular period and been ttc for almost 14 years now. Is there any hope? Can someone tell me your story or tell me what to do?

3 years 5 months ago

IM 36 and my fiance is 20.( I know, I know.) We will have our first child in October 7,2016. I’m scared out my mind. Wanted to aborted it. But he has no kids and very happy…..don’t know what to do…lost and sad

3 years 5 months ago
Hi everyone, I have been so thrown back from this article as well all the women on here and there stories, thank you. I recently turned 36 myself, I’m divorced with currently no children. I lost my son in my 5th week while waitressing around 10 years ago and since then I always had a taboo feeling about having children, thinking I couldn’t caring to full term. And my then husband wasn’t much comforst either, I guess thats why I divorced him. I was feeling depressed about not having a family and watching everyone around me having their babies. I… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago

Hi…i turned 38 in December and found out as of today i am 5 plus weeks. I had been stopped trying. I went through Cervical cancer and all…But after this site, I feel like God gives you what he wants you to have…In my case happiness..To all enjoy your kids and be blesses no matter what who has to say.

3 years 6 months ago

Hi..i’m 37 going on 38 n my is 30 going on 31 we are together going 7yrs..i had my first born at the age of 17 n he is now 20 yrs of age..i had three miscarriage now..i’m going on 38 in October of this yrs 2016 an my husband said to me last night that he is ready for a baby ,please for some words of advice an words of prayer!

3 years 6 months ago

Hi Everyone. I’m 35 years old and have a 5 year old son. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for the past 3 years. After reading this article and all these comments I have renewed hope for us. Thank you everyone and all the best to you.

3 years 6 months ago

Did anyone respond to Frank back in August? Also, I am about to turn 35 and suffered a miscarriage a year ago. I also take medication for bipolar disorder and anxiety. I have high blood pressure as well. I want to get off of my meds and and conceive before my biological clock runs out but I need to know if it’s safe for me or my possibly soon to be baby….

3 years 6 months ago
Hi…i am 37 years old..i will be 38 in March. I have never been pregnant and i am afraid that i will never have a child. At a very early age…i made a wow to myself that i wouldn’t have children unless i was married. My mom was a single mother raising 3 kids and i saw how difficult it was for us all. I didn’t want that for myself ir for my child….furthermore, i didn’t want children for different men…. so i decided to have kids when i got married. Well, 30 years later i am still single and… Read more »
3 years 9 months ago

I’m 37 and my new husband is 24 he wants a child, I already have one 18 year old that is about to be off to college. is this insane or am I over reacting since I married younger?!

3 years 9 months ago

I am 40. He is 50…This is my 8th pregnancy we are happy and excited.. Hes praying for a GIRL… I just want a healthy baby. i think your health is more important than our age. Good Luck to you all

3 years 11 months ago

So I’m 36 mother of 3 ages range 17-9. I meet the guy of my dreams about 6 Mos ago. He was going thru a divorce. He no kids I wanted another and we made so great sex. Lawd and behold 3 Mos later I’m with child. He went back to his wife, of 11 years. And I’m out in the cold. The wife wants to meet to talk about Co parent in NH the baby. They have no kids together. I think I was set up. Help worried

3 years 11 months ago

I’ve just turned 35 and my hubby has been talking about having kids for a few years. He doesn’t do anything to try though so i’m really discouraged. I know this isn’t normal. I think I’ll go to the doc to see if I’m alright atm. I would like to start properly trying in the new year but I’m afraid of raising the conversation because I don’t feel worthy.

3 years 11 months ago

I had my first child at 19 I am 36 now and I am 36 years old. This is my 6th child and by dpfar the easiest pregnancy I have ever had. Age is just a number. I was at my OB last week and there was a teenager with a newborn who had Down syndrome. Don’t let fear stand in the way of family.

3 years 11 months ago

My wife of 36 is pregnant, i’m 38 and never wanted kids…she is suffering from PTSD And takes medication for depression. She also usrs alcohol to “cope” with her depression. I’m against it brcause she needs to care of herself first. This is now causing arguments…talk of divorse…etc. doctors have always told her she had dysmenorhea and that she would never be able to conceive a chold…and now what? I need help…! Husband in need.

3 years 11 months ago

I have 2 kids it is boys I’m 35 year can I pregnant after 3 years

4 years 3 months ago

I’m 35 just (January) so me and the hubby had been ttc for over a yeAr and we have just found out we are pregnant
I must admit I’m quit scared but really excited at the same time
We already have 5 children and thought 1 more won’t hurt , I thought it would happen straight away like it did with my other children but after try for well over a year hear we are 6 weeks in to our new little life
Good look to all you lady’s out there
Don’t give up

4 years 3 months ago
Hello to all my peps. I just turned 42 and also just found out I am pregnant. My boyfriend if we can call him that is 24. Yes I know that an age gap for having a bay together. We we work together and after he moved in with me to wait for his apartment to be repaired from water damage. Well one thing lead to another and we started sleeping together. Well I got careless with my BC and get doesn’t always use protection either. So I have talked to him about it and he is freaked out and… Read more »
Blood Work
4 years 6 months ago
For the blood work test to see the risk for down syndrome. My sister had it done they told her her daughter would have down and gave her the option of abortion. She kept her baby and she is now 12 and is not only normal but an honor student and the smarter then her other two sisters she is also beautiful. My Cousin had the same test and was also told her son would have down syndrome. She also cried and had an awful pregnancy because of her depression. Well here again her son is now 9 and healthy… Read more »
4 years 8 months ago

i am 38 and my partner is much younger than me at 27,i have 5 children already ages 19 to 10…i just found out yesterday i am 4 weeks pregnant does anyone know of any risks involved with my age i am worried as some ppl say i am too old

4 years 9 months ago
I’m 36 and dating a much younger man. He’s 30.I’ve only been pregnant once in my life, at 18, he’s now 17. Never had a miscarriage nor and abortion in my life. I tried in my late 20s& early 30s for Child. Didn’t work. I lost hope. Thought I couldn’t get pregnant ever again. It was meant to be a “friend with exclusive benefits” kinda situation. I’ve known him 14-16 years.He’s not some random. Just wasn’t our time back then. Upon setting the rules and regulations to our “exclusive title free arrangement” we talked about our views; disagreeing . Him… Read more »
4 years 9 months ago

Hi I am 37 and have a 2 yr old baby through c section what wil happen during my second pregnancy

4 years 9 months ago

I have been fortunate to say it only took me one month to try and i’m now pregnant
I am 36. It’s a blessing hope all goes well for everyone. Don’t give up hope.

5 years 8 days ago

I am too… Been trying for 6 months… Using a App to catch my Fertile and Ovulation Days also…
I’m 38 … Take Folic Acid everyday now for 6 months… Eating right… I have 3 other beautiful children…
Good luck.. Praying for u…:)

5 years 5 months ago

My wife and I have been trying to have a baby for almost a year without success. She’s actaully only 34 but the info that you provided will be useful none the less.

[…] seven years later I became pregnant at age 35, Surely what I had done for one child I had to do for the other, at least that was what was going […]

anniza mesada
6 years 7 months ago

im turning 38 next month i had my first baby when i was and my husband want to have our own so down everytime my menstration become.please help me.

6 years 7 months ago
I have been encouraged by all these women. I’m going to be 38 at the end of November and my husband and I had 2 children together. Our son is 10 and our daughter would be 8, she passed away 8 months ago from an accident. We all miss her desperatly and just recently have been seriously playing with the idea of having another child. My reservations were because of our sons age and my body. I had vein issues after my daughter was born but just last year had those fixed, so I don’t want to go through that… Read more »
6 years 9 months ago
Thank for all your encouraging words . Iam so sick and tred of doctors and people speaking negitive things about older women getting pregnant . Iam 43 and me and my husband are trying . Iam waiting until the end of the week to prove to the doctors that iam pregant . I will be 4weeks at the end of this week . I cant wait until i take a pregency test for them . I have # children but my husband doesnt have any . I want to give my husband a baby but these doctors sre so negitive… Read more »
Amy Lisser
6 years 10 months ago

I am 37 and just found out that I am expecting. I already have a 15 year old son and he is super excited about it. I have been married to my husband for 6 months and this will be his first child. It’s scary, but also very exciting!

6 years 10 months ago

Hi all
37 and expecting again. my partner and i will have 6 kids with the up coming birth of our 1st child together. five boys between us ages 11 to 1. I’m sitting at my computer thinking I must be crazy, but also kinda hoping i have a girl this time around. the too old comments i am not looking forward to as well but as long as our family is happy thats all that mattters in the end.

Yvonne gurge
6 years 10 months ago

Prays for everyone god bless you all. I am so sorry for anyone who has lost or hasent conceived a child yet. God bless you and never give up. God creates and gives miracle. Stay strong and peace be with you.

6 years 10 months ago

I am 37 years old, just found out i am pregnant. I have three wonderfull boys, with one man we were together 13 years but split when my youngest was 7 months old. I am now living with a man and been together for three years. The thing is i am scared about it having another child, and being the only parent to care for it. I love the man i am with, but he works long hours and is gone for weeks at a time. What am i to do raise this child alone…. that is the question…

Pray for us
6 years 11 months ago

Went to a dinner yesterday and 4 couples were pregnant. It feels like they are thinking things of why we can’t get pregnant. It’s so hard for me and my wife. I feel like not going to those parties or leaving as soon as possible. I do wish those pregnant all the happiness, but can’t feel but a a little unhappiness for us. pray for us

6 years 11 months ago

I am 36 and my son will be 18 on Monday. I would love to have another child. I think some is wrong with me. Hoping to have one before 37.

Abigail Runganaikulu
6 years 11 months ago
I had only one son and he just turned 23 years old when I discovered that I was pregnant. I was settled and it was like a can of worms opened as i had 2 miscarriages after my son. Aged 44 I was so uncertain and yet happy. I carried full term and gave birth to a beautiful boy called, Caleb. He is now 17 month old and the joy of our home. My first son is getting married next year and I will still have a child left in our home. So hang in there and be positive to… Read more »
7 years 18 days ago

im 40yrs old this coming november, and i really want to have a baby,,,
please give me an advice,,, thank you very much…

7 years 1 month ago

i am 36 years old having baby boy of ten years, we have tried for the second chance after the eight years of first pregnancy , but still baby not conceived

7 years 1 month ago

God bless you JoAnna. I’m sorry for your loss

7 years 2 months ago

I want to fall pregnant but I have the combination of diabetic and hypertension age of 36,is these a good idea, help me.

Jo Anna
7 years 2 months ago
I am 36 (37 in August). I delivered my daughter, Hartley, at 27 weeks on April 10, 2012. She was stillborn. She had multiple heart issues and would have Down syndrome. This was the only time I have ever been pregnant. I’m scared but also hoping that in time, I will be brave enough to try again. Hoping that I will be ‘one of the lucky ones’ who are blessed with a healthy child that can actually do all of the motherhood stuff with them. Sometimes, I’m so discouraged. But this is a woman who is in mourning and in… Read more »
7 years 5 months ago
Hola I was reading your website very inspirational, to me well I am 38 years old married for 14 years with my college love of my life who is 38 also we have 6 children between the ages of 14-4 years of age 3 ninas and 3 ninos. Now I just found out yesterday I was pregnant exciting and scared the reason why I got pregnant last year in March 2011, and I miss carried very devastating. I ask OR can I conceive again they told me yes I nodded hoping for the best. The craziest thing is I was… Read more »
7 years 5 months ago

Thank you as all the messages are encouraging. I am 36, 37 in May and trying for a baby with my partner of 7 years who is 34, He has no children but I have 2 boys 13 and 9 years old so the last time I was pregnant was 10 years ago but now I am getting older I am worrying that I maybe too old and it maybe a lot harder to conceive now but reading the above messages has given me more encouragement. Thank you

7 years 6 months ago
We already have a 14YOG and 12YOB and had been trying to conceive since April 2011 (by trying I mean- no BC whatsoever but not going nuts over it). At first I wasnt exactly on board with the idea but after it just wasnt happening, I was beginning to think I was infertile and I suddenly became increasingly dissapointed…but I just confirmed I am pregnant!!…Christmas Eve my big boo (as I call him) claimed this would be our Christmas gift. I took a home test on Christmas morning of course negative….but last week I took another ++++ plus I confirmed… Read more »
7 years 6 months ago

i am 39yrs i am suffering with early menopause but my doctor rajji she said without ivf only with injections i willbe alright and get a child like normally

7 years 7 months ago

I WANTED TO SAY THANK YOU to every1 and their comments i have 2 Beautiful daughters 15yrs and 12yrs and i was 22 when i had my 15yr old and 26 when i had my 12yrold i would love to have a son, i,m now 38 and like another comment; people have said to me let my girl,s be it; your getting older but i feel what GOD has for me it,s for me, and our girl,s want a brother also: thanks for making me feel better and GOD BLESS EVERY ON THIS SITE it truly helped ME:

Karen Vince
7 years 7 months ago

I had my first child at 36 and my second child at 38 with no problems whatsoever. It was so easy, am even contemplating doing it again next year when I will be 40!

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