When you hear the word geriatric, it’s easy to imagine people who are old or aging. It could sound terrifying, I know, especially if you just want to stay youthful for as long as your body can manage.
But if it’s any consolation, geriatric pregnancy is actually just a medical term that was coined long, long ago. Many health professionals have stopped using it and instead labeled pregnant mommas 35 and up as having the “advanced maternal age” or AMA.
Geriatric pregnancy is considered somewhat outdated and rather insulting by some people, specifically because it brings to mind graying hair and being weak and elderly. And we all know (or at least those of us who are in or nearing these age brackets) that being weak and elderly don’t depict our 30s, 40s, or even 50s.
So, why all the fuss about getting pregnant during a woman’s advanced maternal age? Let’s talk about the frequently asked questions that surround this kind of pregnancy.
Geriatric pregnancy is the traditionally known medical name for the pregnancy of women at 35 and older.
It has risks and benefits (more on these later), which is also true for pregnancies at any age. The core difference, however, is that geriatric pregnancy has a greater chance of turning into a complicated, high-risk pregnancy.
By textbook definition, AMA means 35 and older. This isn’t to say that women of this age are “old” and cannot have a healthy pregnancy. In fact, though geriatric pregnancy was pretty rare in the past, more women are getting pregnant in their late 30s and 40s these days—and for a bunch of reasons.
There’s science behind a woman’s late 20s being her peak reproductive years. You’d have more eggs in your ovaries when you’re younger, and you’re less likely to experience the illnesses many people develop with age (e.g., hypertension, diabetes, etc.).
Meanwhile, your body will begin to experience what is called the “loss of ovarian reserve” as you grow older. Not only that, but the quality of your eggs will slowly dwindle as well.
But while your age does affect your fertility, you should know that there are plenty of other factors at play. If you keep a close watch on your lifestyle and health, then you still have a big chance of having a safe and healthy pregnancy.
Meanwhile, women who may be younger but are unhealthy may struggle more with their fertility than older but healthier women.While your age does affect your fertility, there are plenty of other factors at play. If you keep a close watch on your #health, then you still have a big chance of having a safe & healthy #pregnancy. Click To Tweet
The ideal scenario is that you talk to your doctor even before you try getting pregnant. A preconception checkup will help you understand what’s going on in your body, how your lifestyle and medical history could be affecting your fertility, plus other things that you should know or consider.
If you’re already pregnant, see an obstetrician-gynecologist as soon as you can. This applies to women pregnant at 40, 50, 20, or any age.
Is there really a best age to have kids? Many considerations go into having children, and your (and your partner’s) age is just one of them. Financial and emotional readiness, for example, are big factors you must think about.
But if we’re only going to focus on age and its associated risks, studies say that the 20s and the early 30s are best in terms of avoiding pregnancy complications and health issues in babies. Interestingly, both teenage and geriatric pregnancies are considered riskier for both the moms and their babies.
There’s no hard and fast answer here. The truth is that your risks for pregnancy-related complications are different from another woman’s risks, even if you’re exactly the same age.
Your health and lifestyle will have a big say in this, which is why I highly recommend seeing a doctor before trying to get pregnant—especially if you’re past the peak reproductive years.The truth is that your risks for pregnancy-related complications are different from another woman’s risks, even if you’re exactly the same age. Click To Tweet
We’ve already established that pregnancy during the advanced maternal age is a high-risk pregnancy, but so is child-bearing at an early age (like under the age of 17), while you’re underweight or overweight, or while you’re experiencing conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, or depression.
So, depending on plenty of other factors, geriatric pregnancy may or may not be the most delicate pregnancy type for your body.
While more and more women these days are deciding to have kids at a later age, I want you to understand that this decision isn’t without its risks.
Following are some risks you should talk to your doctor about.
Despite the risks, lots of women who decide to have kids in their late 30s and 40s actually do so without much problem. In fact, a lot of women are happy they decided to have kids at a later date since it gave them the chance to establish a career and life for themselves before having a baby.
There are a lot of other benefits that can come from having a child later in life. Here are some of them:
Lots of older moms finish more than just college, opting to increase their chances of financial success with postgraduate degrees. They’ve also built a nest egg to ensure a financially secure life for themselves and the people they care about.
Career-oriented moms who focus on climbing the corporate ladder and getting to a higher position at work, or building a successful business for themselves, have more resources at their disposal, giving their child the financial security they need.
Another benefit associated with advanced maternal age is the maturity that women have at this age. They’ve experienced more of life at this stage and know how to handle the challenges that come with motherhood than some younger moms.
Those who give birth to babies later in life tend to welcome breastfeeding more than some younger moms. Not only that, but they are also in a position to do so comfortably and without reservations.Those who give birth to babies later in life tend to welcome breastfeeding more than some younger moms. Click To Tweet
This is because they are usually higher up in the companies they work for (or they own the company) and aren’t restricted by workplace rules that lower-income moms are usually subject to.
As mentioned above, moms who give birth to babies after 35 are more open to breastfeeding their babies than some younger moms. In fact, according to the CDC, there is a slightly higher number of women over 30 who are highly likely to breastfeed their babies (85.2%) as opposed to women in their 20s (82.4%).
It has also been noted in studies that older moms breastfeed longer, and this is often linked to their maturity, level of education, and ability to earn more than most younger moms.
A geriatric pregnancy may sound scary and somewhat insulting to some people, but don’t let this deter you from having a baby later on in life (if you really want it!)
So many women have successfully birthed healthy babies at an advanced maternal age, and there are even dozens of celebrities who’ve done the same (included in this list are Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, and Susan Sarandon).
At the end of the day, when and at what age you have a baby is ultimately your decision. Just make sure that you are in good health and follow your doctor’s advice when you do decide to have a baby, no matter what age you are.