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“ My colleague Vinita and her husband were married late. She is 38 years old now and is planning to go ahead with a pregnancy. She has been upset for last few days after knowing the consequences of late pregnancy from her gynecologist”.
Late pregnancy!!! My colleague is not only the single case. Time is changing so is mindset of people. Marriage at early 20s and pregnancy in mid 20s seems to be a history nowadays among educated people. Today’s generation is much keener to accomplish their career goals first .They want to be financially and emotionally stable before getting married and set on the journey of parenthood. When to start a family is a very personal decision and no one should be forced for any such decision to take. But sometimes I wonder, “Are we deliberately ignoring the health risk of ours as well as the baby by delaying the decision to start a family?”.
Some of the risks about late pregnancy which one of my gynecologist friends let me know.
a) Age and fertility:- A woman in her mid-30s or older may take longer to conceive than a younger women. Fertility levels do drop drastically after 35 for woman. Similarly studies say male’s fertility gradually declines from around the age of 40.
b) Chances of twins:- In one side, women over 35 may have difficulty in conceiving but on the other side they have a greater chance of having twins and triplets. And this mainly due to the factor that women over 35 are more likely to undergo fertility treatment.
c) Health problems:- Health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure are more likely to develop for women who are older than 35.
d) Risk of miscarriage & still birth:- The rate of miscarriages in women over 35 is significantly greater than younger women and also women who give birth at 35 or older have a higher risk of stillbirth.
e) Risk of birth defects in women over 35:- Experts say Age increased the risk of having baby with Down Syndrome( often results in miscarriage and if the baby survives, he will have developmental problems and birth defects that can range from mild to severe)..
f) Some other pregnancy complications:- Low birth weight, premature birth and placental problem are likely to increase with increase in age.
So, it is important for aged couple to seek preconceptional counseling before stepped on this very important phase of life. Of course, Improvement in fertility treatments have made it possible for women to conceive and having a healthy baby despite advancing age. It is understandable that some unavoidable circumstances which is not in our control may result in delayed pregnancy. But if there is at least 1% possibility for any couple to start a family before approaching mid 30, I would suggest them to give themselves the best chance for a normal pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Our next generation deserves the best!!!!