What are the risks associated with pregnancy after age 35?
After age 35 there are certainly increased risks to pregnancy both from a maternal standpoint and from a fetal standpoint. From a maternal standpoint as we get older we have an increased risk for conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, or high blood pressure. And pregnancy loss our risk for loss goes up as we get older and that includes early loss which is usually due to baby issues with abnormal chromosomes genetic material. But also increased risk for late loss particularly after the age of 40. Our risk goes up for stillbirth from the baby’s perspective.
The genetic material can have an abnormal number. We normally have 23 pairs of chromosomes. We get one from mom and one from dad and if there’s any abnormality in that pairing system then you can lead to pregnancy loss. So as we get older particularly for having too many chromosomes then our risk is increased.
At what point should I meet with a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist?
If you are contemplating pregnancy and you are going to be 35 or older at the time of delivery. We usually recommended a couple of things, one is to come in and meet with a genetic counselor so that you can discuss your options for testing for genetic conditions. During the pregnancy that can take place before pregnancy ideally so that you and your partner have a chance to discuss what you would like to do during the pregnancy.
You are not feeling the pressure of time constraints during pregnancy or if you miss that opportunity you need to consult your doctor. If you suddenly find yourself that you are pregnant then you can come in and speak to a genetic counselor anytime. Ideally, before 12 weeks of pregnancy, you can discuss your options in terms of medical complications. We would prefer our patients considering pregnancy to see either their obstetrician or come in and consult your doctor to discuss their potential risks that we can go through other things they need to consider before getting pregnant.
What tests should women age 35 and older expect to have during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, certain tests are offered to all pregnant women. Genetic screening to see if babies have conditions such as Down syndrome is one and that can occur as early as 11 to 12 weeks of gestation. We offer NIPT test screening which is no non invasive. Then there is an Anatomy ultrasound that you have on NHS around 18 to 20 weeks that covers all of the baby’s anatomy. To make sure the baby has all the parts that it should and that is to every pregnant woman in addition to that for our older moms.
We also recommended a growth scan later in the pregnancy. Usually at the beginning to the middle of the third trimester. And if you are going to be over 40 at the time of delivery then we also offer and recommend fetal monitoring which occurs in this setting of 40 and over moms. This is not necessarily 35 and older but as you get closer to 40 we like to monitor the baby and keep close monitoring of the baby for the last month of pregnancy.
Are the tests and screening for your patients required?
Sometimes for older moms have the misconception from friends that getting pregnant late in life requires them to do invasive testing and all of that is optional and it all depends on the couple and what information they would like to gain from their pregnancy and what they would do with that. You are not agreeing to an invasive test or any genetic test. You need to just get information and a lot of older moms feel like they would rather not register the pregnancy until they are beyond any screening and testing intervals.
For you need any further assistance you can contact bump2baby scan anytime.