Am I Too Old to Have a Baby?
If you have asked yourself this question, this article is for you. There have been many reports of pregnancy, whether natural or assisted, in women over 50 years of age. There have even been reports of pregnancy in “men.” However, timing is a very personal decision. Many women over the age of 35 come to my office distraught over inconsiderate comments from friends and family. The age of 35 is not a magic number but rather based upon many years of study and statistics of abnormal outcomes. Researchers found this age to have a significant jump. And voila!!! The number 35 was born! When information from those studies was collected, most women were having their children prior to 35.
Nowadays, women are delaying their childbearing for various reasons. Many are marrying later in life, are furthering their education and have successful careers. If you fall into one of these categories, do not be ashamed or afraid. As a matter of fact, I recently delivered a woman age 44 without any complications to her or her normal child.
There are many genetic screening and diagnostic tests that are available to you during pregnancy. A sample of these options include: 1) no testing 2) Serum Integrated Screening (SIS) 3) Serum Sequential Screening 4) Nuchal fold thickness measurements by ultrasound 5) Serum Alpha Feto Protein (AFP) 6) Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) 7) Fragile X testing 8) Cystic Fibrosis 9) Sickle Cell testing 10) targeted ultrasound in the second trimester and 11) amniocentesis to name a few. Other tests are on the horizon and are up and coming. Most tests are covered by insurance but you should confirm all prenatal benefits directly with your insurance company prior to start of prenatal care. Having this many options can cause anxiety and be overwhelming for you and your entire family. Please note, the first option above is no testing. The rationale for performing any such testing is to obtain as much information as possible prior to the birth of your child in the event that special preparations are necessary or that even the location for delivery should be considered.
My advice: If you are ready or not, talk to your Obstetrician in advance to discuss your situation and possible plans for your future. If you do not have an Obstetrician, call our office today for a consultation.