Is It OK To Have Your First Baby After Age 35? What Are The Most Common Risks And How To Reduce Them

Date August 29, 2018

More women are having their first baby later in life

Pregnancy is something a woman needs to be very well-prepared for, both physically and emotionally. These days, more and more women choose to have their first baby later in life. The CDC presents very interesting figures: in 1973, about 1.7 in 1,000 women had their first baby between ages 35 and 39. In 2012, about 11 in 1,000 women in the same age group gave birth for the first time. Getting pregnant for the first time later in life is also becoming more common in women aged 40 and older.

Goran Bogicevic /

Are these rates a cause for concern? It’s a well-known fact that older first-time mothers may be at a higher risk of complications. Below, we list some of them.

Narong Jongsirikul /

READ ALSO: 9 Early Signs Of Pregnancy Not So Many Know About

Risks associated with late pregnancies

Although most women who choose to give birth after age 35 will have a healthy pregnancy, the risk of certain complications increases as you get older. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. For women who are in their mid-30s and older, it may be more difficult to get pregnant. As a woman gets older, ovulations start to occur less often, so it can take more time for her to conceive.

2. The risk of gestational diabetes is higher in this age group. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after delivery, but it may increase the risk of preterm birth and other complications.

3. The risk of low birth weight in a baby is also higher.

Hans.P /

4. Women aged older than 35 are more likely to give birth to babies with Down syndrome or other chromosomal abnormalities.

5. Women in this age group are at a higher risk of losing a pregnancy.

READ ALSO: Life After "Two Sacred Bars": 5 Psychological Concerns In The Early Stages Of Pregnancy

What women can do to have a healthy pregnancy later in life

Women can lower their chances of complications that are listed above if they take proactive steps before and during pregnancy. Here’s what you can do:

1. Before trying to conceive, talk to your doctor to make sure you’re in good health. Your doctor will likely order a number of screening tests to make sure you’re physically prepared to conceive. If you have any symptoms that trouble you, make sure to tell your doctor about them.

2. Keep your regular prenatal appointments to keep track of your and your baby's health. If you have any signs and symptoms that concern you, always bring it up with your doctor.

RossHelen /

3. Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, ask your healthcare provider if you need a prenatal multivitamin.

4. Maintain a healthy weight before and during pregnancy, as underweight and overweight women are at a higher risk of complications.

5. Exercise regularly before and during pregnancy. Ask your doctor which type of exercise is both safe and beneficial while you’re expecting.

6. Needless to say, pregnant women should avoid tobacco, alcohol, and other harmful substances. You should also do your best to limit your exposure to environmental pollutants.

Natalia Deriabina /

If you are planning to give birth for the first time when you are in your 30s, a certain degree of anxiety is inevitable, and that’s normal. To stay healthy during and after pregnancy and to make sure your baby is healthy, follow your doctor’s advice to a T!

Source: Mayo Clinic, WebMD, Medical News Today

READ ALSO: 10 Tips For A Healthy And Happy Pregnancy

This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.