Pregnancy over 40 years old has drastically increased in recent years but is it really that ‘bad’ or ‘risky’ to have a baby at a later stage in your life? Well known people like Cherie Blair had her fourth child at 46 and Madonna had her second child at 41 – if celebrities can, I’m sure we can too? Right?
On this episode of VIP Radio I’m joined in the studio by Consultant Obstetrician Dr Susan Bewley and 45 year old jazz singer and mother of twins, Donna Canale. We talk about pregnancy over 40 and raise the question about which career should come first – reproductive or work?
Is it really that bad getting pregnant in your late 30s or 40s?
Being an older mother means you are much more likely to be better off financially, in a stable relationship and have more ‘life’ experience to deal with a newborn baby. However, pregnancy over 40 brings more medical complications than if you were to have a child earlier in life.
- The ideal age to have a baby in terms of health and when a women’s body is most fertile is between the age of 20 and 35 years old.
- 30% of women over the age of 35 will have difficulty in getting pregnant
- Unfortunately half of all pregnancies over 40 end in miscarriages
Why you shouldn’t wait for Mr Right
Getting pregnant after the age of 40 brings more health risks and it is also more difficult to conceive naturally – but we know that already! So despite knowing the facts why are more and more women delaying the joys of motherhood?
We’ve got a sense that women are healthier, celebrities are having babies later, we hear about miracle babies but on average eggs run out 10 years before the menopause. Therefore the average time women become infertile is about at the age of 41. Dr Susan Bewley in the podcast is NOT saying you are wrong if you want to have children later in life she just wants you to be very aware of the risks about waiting to have children until you hit 40.
Okay okay, lets be realistic. Should we really wait for Mr Right?
I would have loved to have children at the age of 30 – I imagine I will have more money, my career will be at its peak and I will be in a loving relationship. Realistically this did not happen! Unfortunately I’m a single mum, I become pregnant at the age of 21 and my media career has slowed down drastically since giving birth!
Therefore, if you are in your late 30s reading this I completely understand that realistically you may not be in the ‘right’ situation to have a child. You would have read all the facts and risks above about getting pregnant over the age of 40 but if you’re single and still don’t know if you could look after a child what can you do?
The answer is I have no idea. Maybe I was lucky getting accidentally pregnant at the age of 21, as I don’t know when I’ll meet my future husband and have another child. I may read this article back when I’m in my late 30s and think YES I WANT ANOTHER CHILD, I KNOW THE RISKS OF BEING AN OLDER MOTHER, BUT DARN IT I’M NOT IN A RELATIONSHIP TO HAVE A BABY – AHHHHHHHH!
That’s why I think it’s so important to talk about the risks of older motherhood and pregnancy over 40 years old but we have to be realistic and understand every women’s situation is different. Damn you men, you don’t have to think about this as much as we do!
Remember a reproductive career has a limited life span whereas a working career has a much longer lifespan.
We have to remember that the celebrities we see having babies in their 40s have usually already had at least one child earlier in life. It’s therefore much more safer and easier for them to conceive.
We have periods earlier than our grandmothers, we live longer than our grandmothers but the menopause still happens at the same time.
Pregnancy over 40 – The Final Thought
If you are in your early 30s (or even 20s) and in a happy relationship really have that discussion about having children. There is never the right or perfect time to have a child. As Dr Susan Bewley says ‘just get on with!’ and if there are no factors holding you back I would have to agree – go and make some babies!
Most importantly. whenever you decide to have a child just be a happy and enjoy the joys of parenthood whether you are married or a single parent.