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At what age is it high risk to have a baby?

At what age is it high risk to have a baby?

by: Dr. Pooja Mehta
Sr. Consultant - Obstetrics & Gynecology

Pregnancy and a healthy baby are issues which has direct relation to the age of the mother. Both underage and overage mothers face problems in their pregnancy. Nature has decided the right age for a woman to get pregnant. The age from 22-28 years are apt for any woman to get pregnant. However there may be various reasons for a woman to get pregnant before the stipulated age or after the same. It is important that in either conditions you be prepared of some risks that your pregnancy can bring along. Consulting a specialized High Risk Pregnancy Expert should be a top priority for you.

Teenage Pregnancy

Nowadays, due to many reasons teenage pregnancies are on the rise. India has always been a country that has societal norms that promote the same. Teenage pregnancy is a high risk one because of the following reasons:

  • Anaemia
  • High BP
  • Preterm labour
  • Low birth weight babies
  • Post partum depression
  • Feeling insecure, isolated
  • Likely chances of not following instructions

Steps to Overcome Risks of a Teenage Pregnancy:

  • Good antenatal care
  • All tests to be done
  • Balanced diet with all nutrients to be taken with all supplements to be taken on time
  • Avoid substance abuse like smoking, alcohol or drug use
  • Avoid high risk behaviour
  • Exercise is a must to develop endurance and for bone and muscle health
  • Childbirth classes to get information about the whole process and be prepared for delivery as this is a very tender age
  • Emotional support is very important at each and every step

Pregnancy at an Age > 35 years

Women are increasingly getting pregnant and delivering healthy babies after 35, even 40 years of age. This delay could be because of late marriage, career issues or health conditions such as infertility. Problems faced in elder age group are-

  • Difficulty in achieving pregnancy
  • Risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy
  • Baby with chromosomal disorder
  • Increased risk of medical disorder like diabetes, preeclampsia etc
  • Baby being premature or low birth weight
  • Increased risk of surgical delivery

Steps to increase positive outcome if you are pregnant after 35 yrs of age:

  • Preconceptional counselling
  • Genetic counselling
  • Prenatal vitamins- folic acid supplements can prevent the defects of brain and spinal cord
  • Screen for various medical problems and correct them
  • Special tests likethalassemia screening, Rubella status, PAP smear, sugar, BP, thyroid test etc should be done before pregnancy
  • Regular antenatal care should be done to monitor the growth of baby, medical condition of mother. Supplements should be taken regularly. Weight should be gained in the recommended fashion. Oral hygiene should also be looked into as it has a lot of implication on the growth of baby
  • Special tests to look for any anomalies in baby may be needed like CVS, amniocentesis, USG, dual, quadruple tests etc
  • Diet and exercise has a lot of role to maintain proper weight and for bone and muscle health. Normal delivery can be facilitated if the mother follows proper exercise regime at this age because body is not that supple to support normal delivery
  • Smoking, alcohol or drug abuse should be stopped

Having said all this we can conclude that age is just a number if certain behavioural pattern is followed. With proper guidance pregnancy at any age can be smooth, you just needs to believe in yourself and your hospital personnel.

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