Sunday, 14 May, 2023
Mother's Day 2023: Should women get pregnant in their late 30s? Experts weigh in
Modern-day women know what they want when they want it.
From making bold career choices to embracing motherhood, women know when it is the right time for them to take the next step in their life.
Busy acing their career graph, women are less worried about the biological clock. Several women decide to delay their pregnancies for a later age - once they attain financial independence.
Embarking on a pregnancy only in the late thirties is becoming common, says Dr Aruna Muralidhar, Senior Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Fortis Hospital, Richmond Road, Bangalore.
But, is the biological clock really ticking? Dr Shilpa Kava, Consultant - Obstetrics & Gynaecology at Sakra World Hospital, says there is no one-size-fits rule when it comes to having a child. "The optimal timing to get pregnant is essentially subjective and varies from person to person," she says.
Echoing her thoughts, Dr Anu Joseph, Senior Consultant - OBG & Fetal Medicine Kauvery Hospital, Electronic City, Bangalore, says the ideal age for pregnancy can vary depending on individual circumstances.
Fertility begins in adolescence when a teenager enters puberty and keeps increasing for several years. According to Dr Kava, the 20s is the most fertile age for both men and women. Dr Murlidhar says about 70-80 per cent of women get pregnant in their first year of trying irrespective of their age.
Is Pregnancy In The Late 30s A Good Idea?
A report by Society for Reproductive Medicine said that female fertility begins to decline in their early 30s. But it may not be a reason to panic yet.
Each month, a healthy 30-year-old has a 20 per cent chance of becoming pregnant, as per Dr Kava. Dr Muralidhar says most women in their late thirties with regular cycles have about a 25 per cent chance of conceiving per cycle. "The most important factor seems to be hitting the bull’s eye at the time of ovulation which is a window of about six days (five days before ovulation and a day after ovulation)," she adds.
However, stressing about the ovulation period is not going to help. Increasing the frequency of sexual intercourse during the fertile days would certainly help increase the chances of a conception, Dr Murlidhar says.
There are certain checklists, Dr Kava believes, one must consider when planning to have a baby. "One should consider whether they are physically, emotionally, psychologically, and financially prepared to receive a baby."
At the age of 35, Dr Joseph says delayed pregnancies can result in quality and quantity issues of the eggs, making it difficult to conceive and increasing the risk of pregnancy complications such as miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities. Additionally, women who become pregnant later in life may be at higher risk for certain medical conditions, such as gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.
The likelihood of chromosomal issues increases as the mother' s age increases. Hence, Dr Kava said the chances of having a kid with Down syndrome rise over time. "For a woman who conceives at the age of 25, the risk is roughly 1 in 1,250. It rises to roughly 1 in 100 for a woman who conceives beyond the age of 40. The dangers could be greater. This is because many statistics only show live births. They do not record pregnancies with chromosomal abnormalities that terminated in miscarriage," she says.
While there is still hope, women must make sure they don't delay their pregnancy till their 40s. By the age of 40, that figure drops to less than five per cent per cycle. This means that fertility declines dramatically between the ages of 35 and 45.
Pregnancy in the 40s is a high-risk affair as it increases medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, stress, and neurological abnormalities. Changes in fertility can cause eggs with additional, missing, or damaged chromosomes to become more common as women approach their mid to late 30s. If one of these eggs is fertilised, there is a greater probability that the pregnancy will not result in a viable pregnancy and will result in a miscarriage, say experts.
Older women are more likely to develop certain pregnancy complications, such as high blood pressure, which can stress your organs and lead to other pregnancy complications, gestational diabetes, which occurs when you have too much sugar in your blood, and preeclampsia, a type of high blood pressure that can cause problems in organs such as your liver and kidneys.
Dr Muralidhar says that pre-conceptional counselling is extremely important if women are considering pregnancy in their late thirties. "Pregnancy in the late thirties is certainly more common nowadays and can be managed with appropriate care just before and during pregnancy," she adds.
Women who are considering pregnancy should speak with their doctor to understand the individual risks and options, and to receive personalised guidance on the best time to conceive.
Source : Economic Times