How Your Age Affects Pregnancy and Birth

at the first child already ( far) over 30 - that is quite normal today. More and more women are so-called late-bearers. However, you may be wondering if your age might be detrimental to your baby's pregnancy and birth. Or if it still works with the children's wars.

But do you really have to worry? Not really. Reproductive medicine, antenatal care and birth medicine have meanwhile adjusted to the increasing age of mothers. After all, women today give their children an average of ten years later than in 1970. At that time, a 30-year-old was considered a late first-time mother, today a woman is only 35 to 40 years old.

Why do women always have children later?

The lifestyles of young women have changed. Motherhood is no longer the only way to live a full life. Many women start out with a solid education to be financially independent. Also the search for the suitable partner is a frequently mentioned reason for a late pregnancy. Education and careers act like a contraceptive - for women and for men. The parenting is postponed to a later stage of life, until the framework finally seems to fit all around. But sometimes the biological clock is already ticking.

Are there many older pregnant women?

The age at which women have children has been shifting steadily upwards for years. On average, the mothers in Germany at the birth of a child 30, 5 years old. The average age at the birth of the first child is 28, 9 years (Federal Statistical Office 2010). Especially in the age group 40 and above, the statisticians see a jump. In 1991, according to the birth statistics of the Federal Statistical Office, only 0, 8 percent of first-born children had a mother of 40 years and older, in the year 2000 it was 1, 8 percent and in 2003 already 3, 9 percent. Every fourth child has a mother over 35 (Gender Data Report 2004)

Do I have to expect to have to wait longer for my favorite child?

Because many women postpone having children until they reach their career goals, the number of couples who have to wait longer for a child increases. Because from the age of 30, the fertility gradually decreases. For a 40-year-old, the probability of becoming pregnant is significantly lower than for a woman between 20 and 25 years old.In addition, the number of miscarriages in old age increases. In men, fertility decreases slowly from the age of 40 years. More and more couples in this age group are undergoing fertility treatment (Strauß / Beyer et al., 2004).

How does my age affect pregnancy and childbirth? In the past, an older mother was often synonymous with a woman who already had a large family and expected her fifth, sixth or even seventh child. The many births often led to complications in these women. Today, a woman is generally referred to as an older mother when she decides to start a family later. She is then generally fit and well nourished. Unfortunately, older pregnant women are also increasingly developing medical dysfunctions such as diabetes, nervous system disorders or fibroids that can affect pregnancy and childbirth (Joseph et al 2005, Jolly et al 2000). The number of newly acquired diseases has risen from 5.5 per cent in the group of under-29s to 11.8 per cent among over 35-year-olds.

Studies on the effects of age on the birth of a child also report an increase in the incidence of pregnancy complications such as high blood pressure, pregnancy-related diabetes, bleeding in the last trimester of pregnancy, a low-lying placenta and premature birth (Joseph et al 2005; Jolly et al 2000, Main et al 2000, Montan 2007). The occurrence of pregnancy complications increases from 10, 43 percent in women aged 20 to 29 to 19, 29 percent in women aged 35 to 39 years.

Do I have checkups more often than younger mothers?

For older pregnant women, whether it is the first, second or even fourth or fifth baby, prenatal care is particularly important. Additional investigations and more appointments are planned. This also applies to very healthy, fit over 35-year-olds. Many women of this age undergo amniocentesis (Bell et al 2001. Doctors and midwives take special care with ""late"" mothers, which is good for your health and the well-being of your baby (Bell et al 2001) decide which benefits you want to receive.

What are the Benefits of Later Maternity?

Older mothers have many pluses on their side - physically and mentally - women in their 30s and 40s usually have a healthier lifestyle As young women, they understand the needs of their body better and pay more attention to exercise and a well-balanced diet Studies have shown that mature women have a more positive attitude towards their body and are therefore more relaxed about their body's transformation during pregnancy ( Byrom 2004).At this age, a woman also knows more exactly what she wants and is financially better off (Byrom 2004).

What effects does my age have on birth?

The age of the mother is statistically associated with increased interventions: In women over 35, birth is initiated more frequently, an epidural anesthesia is performed or a delivery by forceps or suction cup made (Sizer et al 2000). Many studies show that the number of cesarean sections also increases with the age of the mother (Cleary-Goldman et al 2005, Sizer et al 2000, Bell et al 2001).

Are pliers or pacifier births and caesarean sections always necessary?

The need for such interventions arises from the increased incidence of comlications that could endanger the baby at an advanced age. However, the question arises whether they are actually always necessary or whether physicians rate older pregnant women as risk-averse and sometimes make unnecessary interventions for safety reasons (Cleary-Goldman et al 2005, Jolly et al 2000, Sizer et al 2000). It should be remembered that any interruption of the natural delivery process requires further intervention. For you as a late-gestation, this means that if you want to give your natural birth a chance, be well informed and have every intervention you suggest given you well explained.

Are there any other risks at birth and what can I do to prevent it?

There is a small but serious risk to children of older mothers: Inexplicably, over the age of 35, more children die unborn at the end of pregnancy: 1 to 440 for them, 1 to 1000 for younger women (Cleary-Goldman et al 2005). For this reason, obstetricians are more attentive to older mothers in the last few weeks of pregnancy.

However, a much more common stress factor for older mothers is that doctors and midwives generally run out of complications. This fuels fears and worries that can upset the hormone balance. Older women who had a normal birth reported how surprised their midwives were that no problems occurred.

What are the benefits of being an older mother at birth?

Despite all the actual, established and assumed risks, all studies agree that babies are as well off as babies (Cleary-Goldman et al 2005, Joseph et al 2005, Jolly et al 2000). This can be seen from the Apgar values, which confirm the health of the newborn, but also the later check-ups. And one must not forget that complications in childbirth altogether rarely occur, no matter how old the mother is.

From a psychological point of view, older mothers have another advantage.One study says that they are less afraid of helplessness and loss of control than younger mothers (Suplee et al 2007, Byrom 2004). In addition, one gets with the years, a greater self-confidence and perseverance.

What effects does my older age have on my baby?

It has long been known that older women are at greater risk of giving birth to a baby with Down syndrome. The likelihood is 1 to 400 in women aged 35 years and increases to as many as 1 in 109 in women over the age of 40 years. For a woman aged 45, the risk is 1 in 32 (compared to 1 in 1 500 at the age of 25) (ONS 2008). There are other, much less common chromosomal abnormalities such as the Patau S syndrome and the Edwards syndrome, which are also likely to increase with age. With certain tests one can determine this risk more exactly. Amniocentesis is the most reliable diagnostic procedure. If this exam shows any health problems in the baby, it will either cause a woman to give up her pregnancy or prepare her for the special needs of her child. No woman has to undergo these tests if she does not want this information.

Despite the increased risk of older mothers, one should not lose sight of the fact that most babies are born healthy. Apart from the problem with genetic defects, all figures suggest that children of older mothers do not suffer from birth defects more frequently than children of younger mothers (ONS 2008).

Do not forget to download our free app for interesting daily information about your pregnancy. ""My Baby Today"" gives you all the expert-tested answers you need - always at hand!


Federal Statistical Office 2010. Average age of mothers giving birth to their live-born children in Germany. www. destatis. de [as of March 2012]

Gender Data Report. 2004. Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth www. BMFSFJ. de

Strauss, B. & Beyer, K. (in collaboration with Hennig, K., Hoppe, I., Starker, W.) (2004). Unintentional childlessness (Federal Health Reporting, Issue 20). Berlin: Robert Koch Institute // www. gbe-bund. de

NCCWCH. 2004.

Fertility: assessment and treatment for people with fertility problems - full guideline.

National Collaborating Center for Women's and Children's Health. London: RCOG Press. www. rcog. org. uk [PDF 1. 24MB; As of August 2009] Joseph KS, Allen AC, Dodds L, Turner LA, Scott H, Liston R. 2005. The Perinatal Effects of Delayed Childbearing. Obstet Gynecol.

105 (6): 1410-8. www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov [as of March 2012] Jolly M, Sebire N, Harris J, Robinson S, Regan L. 2000. The risks associated with pregnancy in women aged 35 years or older.

Human Reproduction

15 (11): 2433-2437.www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov [as of March 2012] Main DM, Main EK, Moore DH. 2000. The relationship between maternal age and uterine dysfunction: A continuous effect throughout reproductive life. At the J Obstet Gynecol.

182 (6): 1312-20. www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov [as of March 2012] Montan S. 2007. Increased risk in the elderly parturient. Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol.

19 (2): 110-2. www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov [as of March 2012] Bell JS, Campbell DM, Graham WJ, Penney GC, Ryan M, Hall MH. 2001. Can obstetric complications explain the high levels of obstetric interventions and maternity services among older women? A retrospective analysis of routinely collected data. BJOG.

108 (9): 910-918. Byrom A. 2004. Advanced maternal age: a literature review. Br J Midwifery.

12 (12): 779-783. www. intermid. co. uk [as of March 2012] Sizer AR, Thomas SC, Lindsay PC. 2000. The rise in obstetric intervention with maternal age: a continuous phenomenon. J Obstet Gynae.

20 (3): 246-249. www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov [as of March 2012] Cleary-Goldman J, Malone FD, Vidaver J, Ball RH, Nyberg DA, Comstock CH, Saade GR, Eddleman KA, Klugman S, Dugoff L, Timor-Tritsch IE, Craigo SD, Carr SR, Wolfe HM, Bianchi DW, D'Alton M, the FASTER Consortium. 2005. Impact of Maternal Age on Obstetric Outcome.

Obstet Gynecol

105 (5): 983-990. www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov [as of March 2012] Suplee PD, Dawley K, Bloch JR. 2007. Tailoring peripartum nursing care for women of advanced maternal age.


36 (6): 616-623. www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov [as of March 2012] ONS. 2008. Congenital anomaly statistics: notifications. A statistical review of notifications of congenital anomalies was received as part of the England and Wales National Congenital Anomaly System. Congenital Anomaly Statistics, England and Wales (Series MB3), no. 23.

www. ons. gov. uk [as of March 2012]

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