What do Geena Davis, Marcia Cross and Mariska Hargitay have in common? Well, besides being television stars, all three became first-time mothers after the age of 40. Mention a woman is pregnant and see people beam. Include the detail that she’s above forty and watch the same beaming people frown and shake their heads. What is it about being over forty and pregnant that brings out such reactions in people?
By being a mom over 40, you are taking a risk. But so are you if you decide to go skydiving or parachute-jumping. There are risks in everything. From something as simple as crossing a road, risks are involved. However, doctors are always warning against ‘older motherhood’. What are these risks?
Risk of being pregnant at 40:
TheAsianparent has drawn up a list which features a collaboration of the many and usual health scares that warn against becoming a mother too late.
Pregnant moms will have an increased risk of getting high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.
Birth defects in the child – Down syndrome usually takes the lead here. A combination of mental retardation and physical abnormalities that are caused by the presence of an extra chromosome. Women usually have a 1-in-100 chance at age 40 and a 1-in-30 chance of having a child born with Down syndrome.
Miscarriage – 25% risk for women at 40
Placenta Previa – This causes extreme bleeding during delivery.
Foetal Distress – Increases if this is a woman’s first labour.
Low Birth Weight – A preterm birth (less than 37 weeks of pregnancy) can be reduced by not smoking during pregnancy
Caesarean Birth – Usually a C-section will be advised when a woman is 40 and over.
Moment of fear
Alright don’t despair just ‘cause you read that and already are pregnant and over 40. Sure complications may arise due to age. But think about it. Complications could also arise from the habit of smoking you had as an impulsive teenager or when you were in your twenties, drowning your weekends in flavoured martinis. Age certainly is a component in the production of a healthy baby; however, it is not the main determining factor.
Many women over 40, all over the world, have given birth to babies, regardless of whether it’s their first or second or third (think: Jane Seymour, Emma Thompson, Susan Sarandon). How did they do it and continue to? You have to do your part to improve your pregnancy. Quell your fears with these tips!
Get a good amount of exercise before, during and after your pregnancy. Consult your doctor on what type of exercise you can do during the different terms of your pregnancy.
Follow a healthy diet. It’s good for you and your baby.
Optimal prenatal care – Ladies, I can’t stress enough on the importance of this.
What about after the kid has been born? Mid-life crisis VS Parenting duties?
Come on ladies. Having a child is an indication by itself, regardless of age, that you have reached mid-life and a crisis will soon happen, isn’t it. We kid, we kid (no pun intended).
But what is the real problem here? Creaking knees and popping ankles sounding off as you chase after your little one? Mid-life Mom, those problems pop up all the time due to lack of exercise. Think of the positive issues involved with you being an ‘older’ mom.
Goodbye isolation – While most of your friends are having long-distance chats with their kids or wondering how university life is going for their children, you are having fun discovering new things with your itty bitty baby.
Career’s made – Most young mothers would be busy juggling career and baby but you…you’ve already made your career mark!
Wisdom – With age, come wisdom (we hope!) so wiser decisions regarding you, your child and your family may be made.
Being a mother is a blessing. Being a mother at an older age is an even bigger blessing. Don’t let the worries and concerns shadow the most beautiful time of parenthood. Take it in stride and who knows, pretty soon you might out beat the younger moms and be the ‘cool mom’ on the block!
Also read: 25 Celebrities who gave birth after turning 40