Risks of a Late Pregnancy

The pregnancy trend has changed over the past few years. Later marriages and late pregnancy have kicked in as women are growing more career-oriented or marrying later in life. Late pregnancy has its problems. Chances of complication in a pregnancy double for women aged 35-39.

The biggest problem with late pregnancy is that the child is at higher risk for genetic abnormalities. The child could have Down’s syndrome or Patau’s syndrome. Other chromosomal abnormalities may be found in the fetus. In cases with severe abnormalities, the woman may choose to terminate the pregnancy.

Chances of high blood pressure, diabetes and fibroids double in a late pregnancy. It may also reduce chances of a normal delivery since the skin loses its elasticity with age. Caesarean section is very common in late pregnancies. Recovery after childbirth may also take longer for older women.

At times, the duration of labor is longer and the woman may require induced labor. Preeclampsia (also known as toxemia) is a high blood pressure condition which is common in late pregnancies and can lead to seizures and renal complications in severe cases.

In some severe cases it can cause death of the mother and/or the child. But this condition is typically detected and treated, and the mother and child usually avoid complications.

Low lying placentas can block the cervix and require that the mother have a cesarean section. But in most cases the placenta migrates to the top of the womb over the course of the pregnancy and the mother can typically have a normal delivery.

Premature labor and psychological challenges

Late pregnancies are at a higher risk for premature labor. Sometimes the cases are very complicated and the child may not survive a premature birth. A complicated delivery could also cause the death of the mother.

A premature child who does not immediately receive proper care in a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) at the hospital can sometimes suffer various physical and psychological problems later in life.

Having a child is one of the most significant, if not THE most significant, event in a woman’s life. It requires major changes in a woman’s daily routine. At an older age, women may find it difficult to adjust to a baby’s schedule because they have become used to their usual daily routine.

Older mothers may also find that they do not have the energy level to run around doing four things at once which may be required in caring for a child. But caring for a baby is something that runs on its own schedule and a mother can’t always predict what she may face on a particular day. Older mothers have to learn to adjust their schedules to suit that of their babies.

Life is precious, and giving birth to another life is a big responsibility. It is very important that you educate yourself on the pros and cons of late pregnancy while you’re still young. Consult your doctor to learn more on late pregnancy.