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Pregnancy After Age 35

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Pregnancy After Age 35

Overview

Most pregnancies after age 35 are healthy ones. But as you age beyond your mid-30s, some risks do increase. Your doctor will check you often to catch most problems early.

The main age-related risks are:

The risk of having a baby with certain chromosome problems increases with your age. The number of pregnancies affected by a chromosome problem is about:footnote 1

  • 1 out of 110 at age 30.
  • 1 out of 84 at age 35.
  • 1 out of 40 at age 40.
  • 1 out of 12 at age 45.

Because of the increased risk as you age, your doctor or midwife may recommend that you consider testing for genetic conditions and birth defects. Screening tests can show the chance that a baby has certain conditions. Diagnostic tests can show for sure if the baby has certain conditions. What you choose may depend on your wishes, how far along you are in your pregnancy, your family health history, and what tests are available in your area.

Deciding about birth defects testing

The decision to test for birth defects is personal. There's a lot to think about, like what the results would mean to you, and how they might affect your choices.

Some birth defects—like a cleft palate or certain heart problems—can be fixed with surgery after birth. But other defects can't be fixed.

If you choose to have a test, you may want to talk with a genetic counselor. The counselor can talk with you about the reasons to have or not have the test. They can also help you find other resources for support and decision-making.

Having a healthy pregnancy

Taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do to have a healthy pregnancy. Get regular checkups, and eat a variety of healthy foods. Try to get regular exercise and plenty of rest. And avoid things that could be harmful, including smoking, vaping, drinking alcohol, and using marijuana or other drugs.

References

Citations

  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2020). Screening for fetal chromosomal abnormalities: ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 226. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 136(4): e48–e69. DOI: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000004084. Accessed October 20, 2020.

Credits

Current as of: July 11, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

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