The Risks of Pregnancy for Women in their Forties


Pregnancy is that magical time in a woman’s life when she transforms from being a woman to being a mother – a transformation that is as life changing as it can get. Much has been written, said, and discussed about the best age for pregnancy and most gynaecologists believe that having children before 35 is the best, but with modern medicine having made leaps and bounds in new research, many older women – even after the age of 45 – find it possible to have a healthy pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby.

But what are the risks associated with pregnancy in their forties? We spoke to Delhi-based gynaecologist Dr. M. Kiranmayi, who advises that while it is better to have babies before 45, but with proper care and supervision, it is no longer a very big risk even after that age. But there are definite risks involved, she says.

High blood pressure is one of the risks associated with pregnancy at a later age. “Pregnancy-induced stress could give women high blood pressure. This could lead to some complications like haemorrhage and bleeding. This could adversely affect the growth of the child in the womb,” she adds.

Pregnancy after forty five could also lead to an increased possibility of contracting gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is the condition in which the expectant mother tends to become diabetic during the second half of their pregnancy. This condition usually lasts only as long as the pregnancy, but doctors believe that women who have developed gestational diabetes are at a greater risk of developing diabetes later on in life.

Another grave risk that Dr. M. Kiranmayi believes arises for women who become pregnant after the age of 45 is that their child is at a greater risk of contracting Down’s syndrome. Down’s syndrome is a condition in which extra genetic material causes delays in the way a child develops, both mentally and physically.

The chances of the baby being born by a normal birth are lesser and in fact, doctors prefer to conduct a C-section for fear of excess bleeding caused due to pregnancy induced stress or high blood pressure.

In the end the choice is yours but it’s always better to consult your doctor in case you want to postpone motherhood.

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