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Nineteen Isn't Enough?! The Duggars Visit a Fertility Specialist

Katlyn Joy |20, June 2014


When the television series began in 2008, the title was, "17 Kids and Counting," and now the title is "19 Kids and Counting." Apparently, the Duggars are not finished, if it's up to them. They recently went to consult with a fertility specialist on their TLC show, to find out if Michelle Duggar is able, and if it's safe, for her to get pregnant again.

Michelle and Jim Bob's last child, Josie was born with complications following a severe case of preeclampsia. Josie was born quite prematurely because of the preeclampsia, which older mothers are at higher risk of developing. Michelle is 47.

Michelle also suffered a miscarriage in 2011, at 19 weeks which was discovered during a routine sonogram. The Duggars have chosen to not use birth control through their marriage, and to instead trust God to give them the children He intends them to have.

The Duggars consulted with a high-risk pregnancy specialist, ob-gyn Dr. Mark Wendel, of Little Rock, Ark. They have not mentioned using fertility drugs or procedures, but rather wanted to make sure if Michelle were to get pregnant again, it would be safe.

In an interview on NBC's "Today" Show, Michelle says, "We would love more children if God saw fit to give us more, I just want to make sure that I am ready to catch a baby if that would happen."

She went on to say, "If I am in that season of life where we're not able to have any more, then I'm fine, I 'm happy with that," Michelle says in the TLC clip. "But if there are things physically I need to know, that I need to do, healthwise just to be ready to catch a baby if God saw fit to give us one."

At 47, Michelle faces more obstacles both getting pregnant and carrying a pregnancy to term. Then there are added risks for the baby as well.

According to the Mayo Clinic, getting pregnant after 35 carries the following risks:

  • Harder time conceiving; usually takes longer.
  • More likely to miscarry than younger women.
  • Higher chance of gestational diabetes.
  • More likely to develop high blood pressure.
  • Higher likelihood of preeclampsia.
  • Older women tend to have shorter pregnancies.
  • More multiples are born to older moms, and this carries more risk as well.

A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology looked at the risks for mothers over 45 and found:

  • Older moms were twice as likely to have a c-section.
  • The rate of placenta previa is 6 times higher in women over 45.
  • High blood pressure was 3 times higher than in younger mothers.
  • Older moms have premature births more often.
  • Those older than 45 are more likely to experience fever and severe bleeding after giving birth.
  • Babies of older moms are more likely to wind up in the neonatal intensive care unit or NICU.

Some of these risks may also be associated, however, with the method of conception. Many women who give birth past 45 used donor eggs. While that may reduce the incidence of birth defects, it can make miscarriage, for instance, more common.

Michelle Duggar also faces increased risks with another pregnancy for the simple fact she's given birth so many times before.

According to an article at CNN on multiple pregnancies, many experts believe having children too close together depletes a woman of necessary nutrients, putting them at risk for anemia, uterine rupture, and premature birth.

The uterus doesn't necessarily recover after multiple births, and if the tone is lower, women run a risk of hemorrhaging after giving birth. Since the uterus is not "in shape" following a number of births, the odds of a child being in the breech or another unusual presentation are increased as well.

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