Is old-age conception to be admired or avoided?

Word has gone out wide through several media platforms speculating pregnancy of the very illustrious entertainment personality, Juliana Kanyomozi.

Well, I pay no heed to that buzz and for good reason; just would it have been any other way? She’s a woman after all.

Yet, just as it slipped off, it came to mind that she indeed is a woman who’s also almost in her 40s.

Question: do older women have normal pregnancy, or do they struggle through it?

Anyway, Kanyomozi could be pregnant, same way she could be not – no one knows so much. For purposes of this article however, I don’t mind to leave the Princess alone as we’ve had more reliable stories before. I mean there’s a whole cloud of women – known and unknown who have celebrated the arrival of a new member of the family while they were way out of the usual baby-making age bracket.

In 2010, Celine Dion gave birth to her twins at 42; Jennifer Lopez gave birth at 39, Mariah Carey at 42, Janet Jackson most recently became a mother at 50. Not to mention our own [Uganda’s] Winnie Byanyima who brought forth Anselm at 43 years of age… among others.

But Is Late Conception To Be Admired Or Discouraged?

Women all over the world have begun postponing motherhood for a wide variety of reasons. For some it has been the need to focus on a career and create financial stability, while for others it can simply be attributed to not meeting the right person. Even though it is perfectly normal for a woman over the age of 35 to take longer to conceive than a younger woman, the number of mothers over the age of 35 continues to rise.

One critical question, which many women over the age of 35 have concerning the potential of becoming a mother at this age, is whether their health is at risk or their unborn child will be at risk of a birth defect.

Age and Fertility

According to Web MD, an online health magazine, age does play a major role in a woman’s fertility. Fertility is at its highest during a woman’s 20s. From the age of 23 to 31, a woman is at her most fertile. From then fertility declines by 3% each year until a woman turns 35. After 35, fertility begins to deteriorate quickly. By the age of 39, she will be half as fertile as she was at 31 and between 39 and 42 this is halved once again.

Most women over 35 will have a perfectly healthy pregnancy, although they are subject to higher risks than other age groups. Most of these risks can be managed under a doctor’s supervision.

Inherited Abnormalities

Women over the age of 35 are more likely to have children who are born with genetic abnormalities, such as Down Syndrome. At age 35, the risk of Down Syndrome is very expected. By the age of 40, the risk of a child being born with some sort of genetic abnormality increases significantly. Women over the age of 45 are urged to be more careful with their pregnancies as the risk of having a child with a genetic abnormality skyrockets to severity.

It is therefore recommended, by Gynecologists, that pregnant women who are older than 35 years should have pre-natal testing to diagnose or rule out any genetic abnormalities.  Approximately 95 percent of women who do have pre-natal testing done, will find that their babies are perfectly normal. If the prenatal tests show no genetic defects, and the mother is otherwise quite healthy, then the likelihood of the baby being born with any birth defects at age 35, is not any worse than if the mother was in her 20s.

Non-genetic Birth Defects

After age 35, there is also a presumed increased risk of non-genetic birth defects and pregnancy complications. These include pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and intrauterine growth retardation.

Reducing Your Risks

You can reduce pregnancy risks by seeing a doctor before trying to conceive so that your doctor can do a complete physical examination. This way you will be able to discuss any medical conditions and medications with your doctor.

You could also begin by adding more nutritious foods to be a part of your diet. Try to include foods that contain folic acid, such as in leafy green vegetables, oranges and orange juice, peanuts, fortified breakfast cereals, and enriched grain products.

Quit smoking or drinking alcohol excessively, before and after conception.

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