These days, more and more women are waiting until later in life to become first time mothers. In fact, one in seven pregnancies are now in women over the age of 35. Most will deliver healthy babies without complications, but there are a few things to keep in mind when giving birth for the first time if you are 35 and older. There are quite a few risks to babies of older moms.
Three Risk To The Baby
Women are born with one to two million immature eggs. In older moms, the eggs are closer to approaching their ‘use-by’ date. As that date approaches, eggs are at risk for greater complications during pregnancy.
In advanced maternal age (35+), baby is more at risk for:
- non-chromosomal abnormalities such as heart abnormalities.
- chromosomal abnormalities, such as sickle-cell diseases and cystic fibrosis.
Two ways older moms can protect their family during pregnancy and beyond.
Prenatal Genetic Testing and Diagnostic Testing
In the first trimester of pregnancy, generally between the 10th and 13th week, moms-to-be will be offered a routine genetic screening test to evaluate the risk for genetic disorders in their unborn baby. The information from these tests along with additional risk factors such as the age of the mother, the couple’s ethnic background, and family history go into calculating the risk of a genetic disorder. While genetic testing is a way to asses the risk of a genetic disorder, the only way to know for sure if the baby will be born with a genetic abnormality is to perform a diagnostic testing. Click here to learn the differences between genetic screening and diagnostic testing.
Cord Blood and Cord Tissue Banking
Genetic abnormalities occur largely in the first trimester of pregnancy when the baby’s organs are being developed. However, birth defects can occur at any point in a pregnancy according to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Stem cells are a treatment option for some of the diseases associated with genetic abnormalities, including sickle cell and cystic fibrosis. Cord blood and cord tissue banking is an option for moms to be to give their baby a source of stem cells that is a 100% genetic match to them. Click here to lean more about cord blood and cord tissue banking.
“Prenatal Genetic Screening Tests: Benefits & Risks.” LiveScience. TechMedia Network, n.d. Web. 28 June 2016.
“What to Expect.” Whattoexpect. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 June 2016.
“Women and Their Eggs: How Many and for How Long?” Go Ask Alice! N.p., n.d. Web. 28 June 2016.