There can be many reasons why you have not had a baby until your 40th birthday. It might be because your career took precedence or your search for a right partner went on for too long. Whatever the reason is, the question that must be haunting you now would be whether you can still become a mother or not.
It is possible to have a baby at 40 and there are women who do conceive at this age. It helps to know your chances of success and how to reduce the risks.
What Are the Chances of Having a Baby at 40s?
As long as you are in your early 40s, natural pregnancy is a possibility and there is a 20% chance that you might get pregnant. However, the chances of getting pregnant naturally fall down to less than 5% if you have stepped in your mid-40s because till then the production of eggs by your ovaries start to die down and their quality also declines.
What Are the Advantages of Having a Baby at 40s?
Getting pregnant in the 40s has a fair few benefits and the most important among them is that you are financially very secure and are in a good position to take care of all the needs of the baby. You will have progressed in your career to the point where you have achieved everything you wanted and can now give full attention to the baby. If you and your partner have been together for a long time then you two would have better understanding and will be well-equipped to handle the burdens of parenthood. Being 40 years old means that you have matured as a woman and are at a stage of life where you have experienced things and are better placed to make parenting decisions for your baby. Moreover, women that become naturally pregnant in their mid 40s have a 50 percent chance of having twins.
What Are the Possible Risks of Having a Baby at 40s?
1. Genetic Abnormalities
The eggs of women aged higher than 35 do not divide which can give rise to genetic abnormalities. Women who are having a baby at 40 are in danger of passing on a genetic problem to their child. The most common of these problems is Down’s syndrome. The older the women becomes, the greater are the chances of the baby being born with this condition.
2. Loss of Pregnancy
The chance of a miscarriage happening is far greater in women who become pregnant in their late 30s or early 40s. Women over the age of 40 are more at risk of having a miscarriage than a woman who is in her mid 20s. The reason for miscarriages in women over the age of 35 is the development of chromosomal abnormalities.
3. Health Problem During Pregnancy
Most women in their 40s suffer from medical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. Such health problems can become even more severe during pregnancy and can result in complications. Moreover, the risk of placental bleeding in pregnant women who are over 40 years old is much higher than in younger women.
Women who are having a baby at 40s have a high risk of developing pre-eclampsia. This problem can result in damaging the nervous system and causing conditions like stroke and seizures. Having high blood pressure and diabetes prior to being pregnant are considered some of the reasons for pre-eclampsia.
5. Labor Problems
Women who are having their first baby at the age of 40 run the risk of labor problems.
- These problems include fetal distress, still birth and a longer labor than younger women.
- Delivery of older pregnant women is mostly forcep assisted or requires the use of a vacuum pump. In most cases, a C-section has to be performed for delivering the child.
- The women who get pregnant in their 40s usually give birth to their babies ahead of the expected delivery date. Moreover the babies born mostly have a very low birth weight.
How to Reduce the Risks
Women in their forties have to be extra careful if they want to lower the risk of pregnancy problems.
- Healthy diet. They have to take better care of their diet and eat lots of vegetables and fruits. They must remember to include all the nutrients in their diet so that they remain healthy and are able to give birth to a healthy baby. Click here for healthy pregnancy diet if you are having a baby at 40.
- Medical help. Regular visits to the doctor are necessary if you have diabetes or high blood pressure. Ask your doctor about the weight you should put on for delivering a healthy baby since having the right weight reduces the risk of preterm birth as well as other pregnancy complications like high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.
- Exercise. Exercising regularly is also important as it can help you in remaining fit and keeping your energy levels high. Learn the details about exercising while pregnant.
- Healthy lifestyle. Giving up smoking and drinking during pregnancy is also necessary for the health of both you and your baby.
- Medication use. Ask your doctor before making use of any medication or supplement to make sure that it is safe for you to use.