Did you know that about 53 of every 1,000 women wait until they are between the ages of 35 to 39 to give birth? That’s a dramatic upward trend. Consider that in 1970, the average age of childbirth was about 21 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
So, what does this mean? For one thing, mothers are getting older and wiser. It also means that these women are slightly more susceptible to high-risk pregnancies.
Many women entering pregnancy at an advanced age consult with Dr. Rad. The doctor is double-board certified as an Obstetrician-Gynecologist with sub-specialty training in Maternal-Fetal Medicine.
What is advanced maternal age?
Advanced maternal age, according to the American Medical Association, is being 35 or older at the time of giving birth.
Advanced maternal pregnancy guidelines
There are several steps that women 35 or older can take to have a healthy pregnancy. These advanced maternal pregnancy guidelines begin before conceiving.
Get a preconception checkup. This doctor’s visit ensures that you are healthy before becoming pregnant. Discuss your overall health, lifestyle choices, and apprehensions you may have about pregnancy.
Confer with your physician about any remarkable family history and medicines you are currently taking.
Manage chronic conditions
Be up to date on treatment for chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), and depression. Discuss what medications you are taking for these conditions; some medicines are not safe for pregnancy.
Ingest 400 micrograms of folic acid each day. This vitamin helps your body make new cells. Taking folic acid before and during pregnancy can help prevent birth defects.
Avoid unsafe chemicals
Remove any unsafe chemicals at home and work, such as cleaning products and paint.
Try and reduce your level of stress. Your doctor may have some suggestions such as yoga and meditation.
Advanced maternal age risks
While advanced maternal age can put you at increased risk, the following problems can occur in pregnancy at any age. Difficulties, however, become more prevalent after the age of 35. Remember: most moms have healthy babies.
Older parents are more likely to have difficulty getting pregnant. If you have tried unsuccessfully for six months to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about seeing a fertility specialist.
One alternate option is in vitro fertilization (IVF), a procedure used to prevent genetic problems or assist with the conception of a child.
Older parents are at higher risk of preterm delivery. This is when the baby is delivered before 37 weeks. Preterm babies can experience health difficulties later in life.
As women age, they are more prone to give birth to multiples (twins, triplets). This can be especially prevalent if the mother is undergoing fertility treatments.
Being pregnant with multiples may cause problems such as premature birth, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, or problems with the babies’ growth.
The risk of birth defects, such as Down syndrome, rises with older women. Other genetic difficulties are more common because the woman’s eggs (oocytes) are older and may form an embryo with too many or too few chromosomes.
Other risks include miscarriage (pregnancy loss), congenital heart defects, hypospadias (abnormal male urethra), craniosynostosis (abnormal skull growth), club foot, and diaphragmatic hernia.
With this condition, the placenta sits low in the uterus and partially or completely covers the cervix. This can cause extensive bleeding during birth. Even though rare, this condition affects women in their 40s three times as often as women in their 20s.
How to minimize advanced maternal age complications
Advanced maternal age pregnancy risks are a reality. The good news is you can mitigate these potential dangers by establishing a strong relationship with Dr. Rad.
The doctor can guide you through prenatal screening and testing. These tests let you know if your baby has an existing or potential problem before birth. These results also help Dr. Rad manage your pregnancy and plan for labor and delivery.
Dr. Rad may also order genetic testing or suggest you see a genetic counselor to learn, before birth, if your baby has underlying chromosomal abnormalities.
More about Dr. Rad
Dr. Rad and his world-class obstetrics and gynecology team at Los Angeles Fetal and Maternal Care understand your healthcare needs before, during, and after birth. Our doctors provide compassionate care and help you understand your pregnancy, answer questions, and provide emotional support to safely navigate your pregnancy.
Dr. Rad has undergone rigorous training with high honors at prestigious, renowned institutions such as the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, USC, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and UCSF Medical Center, as well as centers internationally in London, Austria, Israel, and Africa.
We are conveniently located for patients throughout Southern California and the Los Angeles area at locations in or near Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, West Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Culver City, Hollywood, Venice, Marina del Rey, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Newport Beach, Irvine, and Downtown Los Angeles. We also offer in-home prenatal care and a fly-in program for out-of-town and international patients. Dr. Rad even travels to patients who need him throughout the U.S. and around the world.
If you can’t make it to Dr. Rad, he also offers virtual consultations worldwide.
Call us at (844) 473-6100 to schedule your consultation. We are currently accepting new patients.