Record numbers of women are becoming pregnant later in life. Some will be first-time mothers, while others are having another child. Older mothers may be more financially stable or settled in their careers. They also may feel better able to care for a baby than a young mother would. But do older mothers and their babies face additional risks?
Research confirms that most women who become pregnant in their 30s and early 40s have safe, healthy pregnancies. But they do face a higher risk of some problems:
How does a mother's age affect her baby? Researchers report that babies born to older mothers may have a higher risk for diabetes, prematurity and low birth weight.
Keep in mind that most women older than age 30 have successful pregnancies and deliveries. Advances in medical care for both mother and baby can help prevent and treat many of the risks they face.
Early and regular prenatal care is key to having a healthy baby at any age. And it's important to make sure you're in good health before and during your pregnancy.
A nutritious diet can help promote the baby's growth. And it's best to avoid cigarettes and alcohol, which can harm the baby.
Discuss any pregnancy plans with your doctor, who can identify any special needs you may have and help make suggestions. Together, you and your doctor can help make pregnancy and motherhood wonderful experiences.