Pregnancy later in life; what women need to know

Women getting in pregnant later in life is becoming more and more common. Women are waiting to have kids because of their career, waiting for the right partner, or other family events.

Like every other topic related to health, it's good for women and families to know what might be ahead, and be prepared! Dr. Diana Bitner explains what women can expect if they decide to have children later in life.

Bitner says there are many benefits of having children later in life: more stability, patience, education, preparedness. Plus children of older parents have been shown to have potential benefits as well-fewer unintentional injuries, higher immunization rates, and higher language and social development.

However, there are also potential challenges. When a woman becomes pregnant later in life, she may need to be prepared to face some of the following issues:

  • Early miscarriage
  • Twins and triplets
  • Premature birth
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Growth restriction
  • Cesarean Section
  • Postpartum depression

When older women get pregnant, there are certain procedures done differently:

  • Early ultrasound to confirm due date and how many babies.
  • Offer for testing (not screening) for genetic abnormalities with blood tests or sampling of the placenta.
  • Targeted ultrasound for anatomy.
  • More frequent ultrasounds for growth and fluid levels.
  • Close monitoring for diabetes and pre-eclampsia-potentially more blood tests and monitoring of blood pressure and blood sugars.
  • Potential induction of delivery at 39 weeks, not let go past due date.
  • Screen for risks of postpartum depression, potentially more frequently (moms with other risk factors.

To set up an appointment with Dr. Bitner or her menopause specialist team, call 616.267.8520. Her office is located at 3800 Lake Michigan Dr. NW Suite A. Make sure to visit her blog at healthbeat.spectrumhealth.org/blogs

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