Pregnancy in your late 40s
Many of us have heard that Kelly Preston, wife of John Travolta, is pregnant at the age of 47. Wow, you go girl! I hear some women asking “If she can, why can’t I?” Good question, complicated answer.
Women over age 35 may be less fertile than younger women because they tend to ovulate (release an egg from the ovaries) less frequently. Certain health conditions that are more common in this age group also may interfere with conception. These include endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes and fibroids.
A woman over age 35 should consult her health care provider if she has not conceived after 6 months of trying. Studies suggest that about one-third of women between 35 and 39 and about half of those over age 40 have fertility problems. At age 47, most babies are conceived with some form of fertility treatment. This can be time consuming and expensive.
Most miscarriages occur in the first trimester for women of all ages. The risk of miscarriage increases with age. Studies suggest that about 10 percent of recognized pregnancies for women in their 20s end in miscarriage. The risk rises to about 35 percent at ages 40 to 44 and more than 50 percent by age 45. The age-related increased risk of miscarriage is caused, at least in part, by increases in chromosomal abnormalities.
Women in their late 30s and 40s are very likely to have a healthy baby. However, they may face more complications along the way than younger women. Some complications that are more common in women over 35 include: gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, placental problems, premature birth, stillbirth. About 47% of women over age 40 give birth via cesarean section.
All these things taken into consideration, many women who do conceive in their late 40s, either on their own (unlikely but not impossible) or with some fertility treatment, do manage to have healthy babies. The important thing to remember is to have a preconception checkup and early and regular prenatal care.