There is a saying that age is nothing but a number, but when it comes to getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy, it matters a great deal.
According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) the optimal age for childbearing is 20 to 35.
As women reach their thirties, they experience a decline in fertility. The fertility regulator HFEA says female fertility declines sharply after a woman reaches the age of 35.
As women get older, both mother and baby are faced with an increased risk of pregnancy-related health challenges. These problems are due to changes in the reproductive system and the increased likelihood of general health problems that comes with age.
The following are 7 health risks for child bearing after the age of 35:
1. Infertility: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says fertility in women starts to decrease at age 32. At age 35 you have a 52% chance of becoming pregnant unaided.
2. Complications during pregnancy are more common when women reach the age of 35.
3. Chronic health problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, are more common in women in their 30s and 40s. These can develop for the first time during pregnancy, and women over the age of 30 are at increased risk.
4. Stillbirth(delivery of a baby that has died before birth) and maternal death: This is more common in women over the age of 35. Older women are also more likely to have low-birth weight babies.
5. The risk of pregnancy loss is higher: The risk of pregnancy loss by miscarriage increases as women get older, probably due to pre-existing medical conditions or fetal chromosomal abnormalities.
6. The risk of chromosome abnormalities is higher: Babies born to older mothers have a higher risk of certain chromosome problems, such as Down syndrome.
7. Caesarean birth is also slightly more common for women having their first child after age 35.
The biological clock is a fact of life, but there is nothing really special about the age 35. It is simply an age at which various risks should be carefully considered.