A pregnancy after 40 years poses a risk for both the mother and the baby, as statistics and studies show. But what are those risks?
As the woman reaches her birthday, and especially as she approaches 40, her fertility tends to decrease significantly. For this reason, fertility specialists indicate that the ideal time to get pregnant and have a baby is between the 20s and 30s, advising even those who have already turned 30 not to wait too long, especially if they want to have more of a child (and in fact they still haven’t had the first).
Moreover, fertility tends to be closely related to the age of the woman, in such a way that the woman will tend to be more fertile the younger she is. But this circumstance is not only related to fertility, but also to the quality of the pregnancy itself and the possible risks that may occur.
Thus, for example, when a woman approaches her 30s, the chances of achieving conception are slightly lower than in the late 20s (considered the period of greatest fertility), while the risk of miscarriage or having a baby with Down syndrome is only slightly higher.
However, as many specialists state -and warn-, from the age of 35 the decrease in fertility begins to grow, at the same time that the risk of suffering complications or congenital anomalies is much higher.
Risks to the fetus
According to a recent study 40-year-old pregnant women have a 6% higher risk of having a baby with chromosomal alterations, and a 1% higher risk of structural malformations, compared to those women who get pregnant before their 40s.
According to this study, structural malformations tend to multiply up to 3.7%, while 34% of women who become pregnant at this age present high-risk combined screening, a tenth of chromosomal alterations in the fetus, and of these 6% suffered from Down syndrome.
In addition, it is more common for the baby to have a low birth weight at the time of delivery.
The risks to the mother
But the risks do not affect only the fetus, also the mother. As a woman ages, a series of physiological changes take place that make the development of pregnancy not so easy, which can cause an increase in placentation problems that ultimately affect the feeding that the fetus receives.
As shown in the study, abnormal placentation as a consequence of becoming pregnant from the age of 40 is one of the causes of uterine rupture.
The risk of suffering from gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension and hemorrhage is also higher, the latter being one of the greatest risks, in addition to the fact that the uterus does not contract the moment after delivery.