Moms Over 35 Face Lower Risks of Fetal Malformations

moms over 35

A recent study shows that moms over 35 face lower risks of fetal malformations, although doctors mention that the most probable occurrences at this age are miscarriages or the impossibility to get pregnant. The study made by Katherine R. Goetzinger, MD, MSCI, of Washington University School of Medicine and her colleagues unveiled the fact that the encouraging news for older women who decide to give birth are surprising even for them, but although the findings are in the initial phase, moms over 35 should not fear that their offsprings will suffer from physical abnormalities.

The usual complications that older moms could encounter are the induced labor, epidural anaesthesia, forceps delivery or diagnosis of fetal distress, but lower risks of fetal malformations seem to be a positive “trait” of moms over 35. Doctor Jill Rabin, chief of obstetrics and gynaecology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York stated that the study “may provide some reassurance to women deciding to delay childbirth,” even though it is a known fact that becoming a mother later means facing enhanced pregnancy risks.

During the study, Goetzinger’s team analyzed the results that came from over 76,000 women during their second trimester. The experts found out that moms over 35 were 40 percent less likely to be exposed to risks of fetal malformations than younger mothers. Although Doctor Jacques Moritz, director of the division of gynaecology in the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at New York City’s Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital agreed that “if the older mother did get to the second-trimester ultrasound they have a better outcome,” his feelings regarding the research are mixed. Doctor Moritz believes that moms over 35 are more likely to experience miscarriages or the impossibility of getting pregnant, so fetal malformations could be a secondary problem.

Nevertheless, Doctor Joanne Stone, director of maternal-fetal medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital stated that although the reason why moms over 35 face lower risks of fetal malformations, it is a good news for those who want to experience pregnancy later in life.

How to Maintain a Healthy Pregnancy After 35

Goetzinger explained the findings of her team’s study in terms of “survival of the fittest,” which means that there are generally two possible scenarios for older women who choose to conceive a child, namely miscarriage or a normal pregnancy which is going to result in a normal baby progressing. Another reason why moms over 35 face lower risks of giving birth to children with physical abnormalities is the greater attention they pay to healthy behaviors like taking prenatal vitamins, exercising and following a healthy diet.

Experts say that moms over 35 can increase their chances of having a healthy baby by getting early and regular prenatal care, taking optional tests especially made for older women and taking prenatal vitamins which contain at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. At the same time, the risks for pregnancy problems can be lowered if the mother keeps up with other doctors appointments, gains the recommended weight, exercises on a regular basis and maintains a healthy and balanced diet.

Although some doctors mention that being cautions while pregnant may not help moms over 35 with regard to the child’s health, the study carried out by Goetzinger and her team proved that they face lower risks of fetal malformations. However, other dangers like the baby’s death “in utero” at the end of the pregnancy, premature births and the infant’s increased possibility to develop diabetes still exist for moms over 35.

By Gabriela Motroc



MedPage Today


Mothers 35 Plus

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