Pregnancy Trends: Women Waiting Longer
Today, women are waiting longer than ever to have a baby. More and more women find that they want to establish themselves in a career, or that they want to do some other things in life before making that big leap into motherhood. That’s not a bad thing in itself, but it does create some interesting issues in regard to fertility and pregnancy.
One recent study in Canada, for example, shows that almost one in five – nearly 20 percent – of births occur to a mother over the age of 35. That’s a significant percentage, and represents an overall change over the past several decades.
Unfortunately, moms that are over 40 years old are about three times as likely to develop a number of serious pregnancy complications. Diabetes, hypertension, and premature birth are all at increased rates at that age. In addition, babies are more likely to face chromosomal disorders when the mother is over the age of 40.
Even women over 35 have higher risks. Women over the age of 35 in the study were twice as likely to have gestational diabetes (which is high blood sugar that occurs during pregnancy). Women over 40 were three times more likely. One in every eight moms over 40 contracted gestational diabetes.
What’s more disconcerting is that, of those women, some will actually develop regular Type 2 diabetes after pregnancy. Between one third and one half will have gestational diabetes and then develop Type 2 diabetes.
Waiting has an impact on fertility, as well. Women in their 20s are much less likely to need or seek reproductive assistance than women in their 30s and 40s. Once you reach the age of about 37, your chances of becoming pregnant without assistance drop dramatically, and continue to fall until you reach menopause.
Now, none of this means you should rush out and get pregnant, of course. What it does mean is that women who choose to wait should become informed about the implications of that choice and be ready to face the possible struggles and complications that go along with waiting.