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Health Risks For Older Women and Pregnancy

Sep 15, 2008
More and more women have having babies later in life when they have their lives and financial situations in order. Heath risks increase anyway for older women and pregnancy sometimes aggravates or brings on additional medical conditions. However, older women are more aware of the need for folic acid during pregnancy, as well as the need of maintaining a healthy diet and getting lots of exercise than younger women usually are. They also have higher rates of choosing to breastfeed, rather than bottle feed their infants than younger mothers do.

It is important for older women to be in good heath before they become pregnant. Pregnancies after age 35 have a greater chance of ending in miscarriages and for having babies that have problems at birth. This is why doctors tend to pay a lot of attention to ensuring mothers over this age are healthy, often scheduling appointments closer together so that they can monitor the health of both the mother and the baby. Since mothers at this age have much more life experience, the likelihood of alcohol consumption is increased, which also increases the possibility of the baby being born with fetal alcohol syndrome.

Diabetes, heart disease and arthritis may have started to manifest themselves in older women before they become pregnant, but not enough that it interferes with their daily lives. However, pregnancy at this age does compound the symptoms of these medical conditions, endangering both the mother and the baby. High blood pressure is quite common during pregnancies for older women and this condition may not go away when the baby is born. A women who does have a stressful job can also develop complications in the pregnancy at any age, but it is more likely as they get older.

The risks to the baby when the expectant mother is older do not happen to everyone. Some women sail through the nine months without a hitch and may even think that the doctor is being overly cautious. However, there are so many risks involved that doctors usually do generalize in this area and want to make sure that nothing happens to the mother or baby that could have been avoided. Some of the common problems that do occur in women that get pregnant after the age of 35 include:

- Ectopic pregnancy ?The fetus develops in the tube instead of the womb and this results in miscarriage. This usually requires surgery to remove the damaged Fallopian tube.

- Chromosomal abnormalities ?One example of this is a baby born with Down's Syndrome

- Multiple births ?this is true if the mother has been trying to get pregnant for a while and takes fertility drugs

- Complications during delivery

Older women who become pregnant usually have more screening and tests than a younger woman. These screenings help to determine if a certain medical condition exists in either the mother or the baby.

When women get pregnant later in life, they often have a more difficult time adjusting to the fact that they are pregnant, especially if it is unplanned. They are thrilled at the prospect of having a baby, yet they know that the freedom they have enjoyed for so long will be curtailed. This often causes them to be more emotional than usual.
About the Author
For more information on the older women and pregnancy,pregnancy symptoms and the first trimester of pregnancy visit http://www.Pregnancy-Period.com
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