Table of contents:
- Risks for the mother
- Risks for the baby
- What prenatal care is like at age 40
- How is childbirth at 40 years old
Pregnancy after age 40 is always considered high risk even if the mother does not have any disease. In this age group, the probability of miscarriage is much higher and women are more likely to have diseases that can complicate pregnancy, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Risks for the mother
The risks of becoming pregnant after age 40 for the mother are:
- Increased chance of premature birth;
- Blood loss;
- Ectopic pregnancy;
- Premature abruption of the placenta;
- Rupture of the uterus;
- Premature rupture of membranes;
- Hypertension in pregnancy;
- Hellp Syndrome;
- Prolonged labor.
Signs to go to the doctor
So the warning signs that should not be ignored are:
- Loss of bright red blood from the vagina;
- Dark discharge even in small amounts;
- Bleeding dark red or similar to discharge;
- Pain in the lower part of the belly, as if it were colic.
If any of these signs or symptoms are present, the woman should go to the doctor so that she can be evaluated and to perform an ultrasound so that the doctor can check if everything is ok.
Although it is normal to have small discharges and cramping, especially in early pregnancy, these symptoms should be reported to the obstetrician.
Risks for the baby
The risks for babies are more related to chromosomal malformations, which lead to the development of genetic diseases, mainly Down Syndrome. Babies can be born prematurely, increasing he alth risks after birth.
Women over 40 years old, who wish to become pregnant, should consult a doctor for guidance and to carry out tests that confirm their physical conditions, thus ensuring a he althy pregnancy from start to finish.
What prenatal care is like at age 40
Prenatal care is a little different for women who get pregnant under the age of 35 because more regular consultations and more specific exams are needed. According to the need, the doctor may request tests such as more frequent ultrasounds, blood tests to identify toxoplasmosis or cytomegalovirus, HIV type 1 and 2, glucose test.
More specific tests to determine if the baby has Down syndrome are chorionic villus sampling, amniocentesis, cordocentesis, nuchal translucency, ultrasound that measures the length of the baby's neck and the Maternal Biochemical Profile.
How is childbirth at 40 years old
As long as the woman and baby are he althy, there are no contraindications for normal delivery and this is a possibility, especially if the woman has been a mother before and is pregnant with her second, third or fourth child. But if she has had a C-section in the past, the doctor may suggest a new C-section because the scar from the previous C-section can hamper labor and increase the risk of uterine rupture during labor. Therefore, each case must be discussed personally with the obstetrician who will perform the delivery.