Over the past 50 years, more women are delaying childbirth for many reasons. Now obstetrical teams are seeing an increase in first births for women aged 40 to 44. Pregnancies can progress beautifully with these women but increased risks have been associated with later motherhood. Some of these risks include:
- Abnormal fetal chromosomes
- Diabetes during the pregnancy
- High blood pressure before and during the pregnancy
- Preterm labor and delivery
- Increased chance of twins
The age of the father is also of concern here. Advanced paternal age is often thought of as being 40 or older at the time of conception. There are studies suggesting that advanced paternal age can be associated with a higher risk for autism spectrum disorders and some gene abnormalities.
If you or your partner is in this age group and are considering a pregnancy, begin a discussion with your health care provider.