Planning To Get Pregnant Over 35? How Old Is Too Old To Get Pregnant? – Part 1

So, the thought of planning a baby has crept in your mind finally? You and your partner wonder if you are “late” for the whole baby-making process given the fact that you are above 35 years! Well, the thought is scary and real! Given the fact that many women are planning on settling down and getting married late or choose to have a child after a few years post marriage; it is not uncommon that due to career and personal choices the baby-making process takes a back seat! So worry not, you are not TOO OLD to have a child, unless your body or personal problems get the better of you. But if and when you choose to have a child after you turn 35, you need to be aware of certain things.

So, what is the medical terminology for a woman to get pregnant over 35 years?

It is important to know what “gravidity” and “parity” mean. They indicate the number of times a woman is/has been pregnant (gravidity) and has carried those pregnancies through a viable gestational age (parity). Few terminologies that would be common for women during their pregnancy, these include:

  • Nulligravida:  A woman who has never been pregnant.
  • Primigravida: A woman who is pregnant for the first time. First twin pregnancy is counted as one.
  • Multigravida/Secundigravida: A woman who has been pregnant for more than one time.
  • Nulliparous: A woman who has never given birth.
  • Primiparous: A woman who has given birth once before.
  • Multiparous: A woman who has given birth two or more times.

So, any woman who is planning to have a child after the age of 35 years, is known as either:

  • Elderly Primigravida: A woman who is >35 years and is pregnant for the first time.
  • Elderly Multigravida/Secundigravida: A woman who is >35 years and is pregnant for more than one time.

What are the complications faced if you are over 35 years and planning your pregnancy?

  1. Difficulty in conceiving: There is a possibility of this, despite you and your spouse having regular sex you may not conceive, worse it kills the joy of love-making and may make you resentful of each other!
  2. Compromised medical health: Given the change in the lifestyle in the current scenario, there is no denying that we neglect our health and, as we age, it gets more difficult to maintain it. If a woman who is > 35 years and has an underlying medical condition like hypothyroidism, diabetes, being overweight or any other systemic disorder, then getting pregnant would be difficult and pose a threat. A decision to get pregnant should also be taken after consulting a reputed doctor.
  3. Complications: If you stay positive and have optimum health, you can soldier through your pregnancy, but there is no denying that planning a baby if you are > 35 years has its own complications. These include:
    1. To the mother: (there is a risk of having)
      1. pre-eclampsia
      2. gestational diabetes
      3. high blood pressure
      4. placenta previa
      5. miscarriage
      6. ectopic pregnancy
      7. difficult labor (either it will be longer or you may need an assisted birth/ C-section
    2. To the baby: (there is a risk of having)
      1. a stillbirth ( risk is doubled after 35 years and increased five-folds after 40 years)
      2. chromosomal abnormalities (like Down’s syndrome)
      3. premature birth

It should be kept in mind that planning a child at a later date is quite common these days. You are not alone! Nonetheless, it is very essential that you take care of your health and strictly follow the instructions given by your doctor/healthcare provider – your pregnancy will then seem less daunting.

In the second part of this article, we will discuss what are the precautions needed to successfully plan your pregnancy if you are 35 years and above.

mm

Aishwarya

Dr. Aishwarya Rajeev has completed her MDS degree and is currently pursuing her PhD. She is an avid reader and loves to teach and write!

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