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Child Health BBC News Reports Concerns over Older Mother Trend

Posted Jul 03 2009 1:38pm
By Colleen Hurley, RD, Certified Kids Nutrition Specialist There is a growing trend in the new millennia and that is women having babies much later in life. Although, as Mum Mums recently reported, fertility later in life is equated with a familial longer life expectancy; health risks during pregnancy do increase with age. There is new concern that this trend may lead to high risk pregnancy complications. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently published evidence about the medical risks of pregnancy for older mums. The college set up an expert panel to research the topic once current statistics revealed that the number of older mothers has reached record levels. Many doctors are concerned by the fact that many women are unaware of just how rapidly fertility declines after 35 years of age. The success rate of a live birth for each IVF (in vitro fertilization) cycle is about 31% for a woman under 35; yet that rate drops to 5% for women over 42. Other experts argue, however, that advances in medical technology can keep up with the trend. Later maternal age may also bring a different set of implications as health services may not be able to handle the increasing number of high risk expecting women. Even though most pregnancies result in a healthy baby, the expert panel says older women run the risk of serious adverse conditions such as gestational diabetes. The experts also feel that Hollywood is influencing women as well with the growing number of older celebrity mums; noting the media does not report the complications of these pregnancies. The major risks noted by the college for later in life pregnancies are preeclampsia, or elevated blood pressure, and diabetes yet some experts claim that pregnancy has never been safer due to medical progress. Focusing on the medical risks leaves out the vast societal changes that have taken place over the past few decades that are urging this trend and shaping womens lives. There are now greater career opportunities for women along with the expectation of financial independence.
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