Pregnancy After 35
One of the most common high-risk pregnancy factors is advanced maternal age, or pregnancy after 35, even though many people associate the term “high-risk pregnancy,” with inherent health conditions relating to the mother.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the number of expectant mothers in their forties has continued to increase in the last three decades. Because these women are over the age of 35, their pregnancies are considered high-risk. While many women of advanced maternal age have healthy babies, it is advised that women over the age of 35 seek care from a specialist if they are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
Women of advanced maternal age are at increased risk of preterm labor and preterm birth, potentially causing the baby short-term and long-term health problems. Additionally, women who are in their thirties are more likely to need a cesarean delivery than women who are in their twenties. They are also more likely to have a baby affected by a genetic disorder. While being of advanced maternal age is considered a risk of its own, pregnancy after 35 may also have additional risk factors that need to be monitored. These might include:
- Heart or kidney disease
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Gestational Diabetes
- Multiple-birth pregnancy
- Seizure disorders
- Blood clotting disorders
- Preeclampsia (toxemia)
- Infectious diseases
- Repetitive pregnancy loss
- Suspected abnormal fetal growth
For those with one or more high-risk pregnancy factors, a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist can work alongside the OB-GYN to develop a plan of care tailored to the patient’s personal needs and medical history. This specialized prenatal care allows the mother and baby to be more closely monitored and can possibly prevent and/or detect any complications that may occur. Maternal Fetal Medicine services often include:
- Preconception counseling
- Genetic counseling and screening
- Evaluation of fetal malformations and growth disorders
- Fetal testing to monitor baby’s well-being
- Postpartum care
If you are a high-risk mother, you may see a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist several times during your pregnancy. However, your obstetrician will continue to manage your pregnancy and will deliver your baby. As with any pregnancy, it is important to continue to take good care of yourself by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, taking prenatal vitamins, and discontinuing smoking or drinking alcohol.
At Hattiesburg Clinic, we offer the full spectrum of prenatal, delivery, and postpartum care for women with high-risk pregnancies who need these services. In addition, the Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist has access to the tools and services of Hattiesburg Clinic OB-GYN prenatal services, including ultrasound technology and laboratory.