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The Upside of Pregnancy After 35

Katlyn Joy | 2, July 2014


You've heard the downside; higher risks of miscarriage and premature birth, more chance of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, and of course, increased odds of chromosomal disorders. But that is just one side of the story. Here is the part you may not have heard.

1. You are not alone.

Having a baby later in life means joining a club that is large and growing exponentially. According to stats from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010, 1 in 12 babies were born to mothers over 35. Between 1980 and 2004, birth rates among those 35 years old tripled; those 40 had birth rates that quadrupled.

2. You are probably in a stable marriage or long-lasting partnership compared to younger moms.

This means emotional stability as well as more likelihood of financial stability. You won't be having a series of relationships and heartbreaks while raising your child.

3. After 35, you are likely to have a strong support network.

Moms of this age are established in their homes and areas, and have plenty of friends and family to count on when they need a helping hand.

4. Babies born to mothers over 35 are less likely to have birth defects.

A study published in early 2014 found that women 35 and older were 40 percent less likely than younger moms to have babies with major congenital malformations. Researchers looked at the ultrasounds of 76,000 women in their second trimester for the study.

5. Women in this age group are more likely to have attained their education.

More education is associated with huge gains for children such as a higher likelihood of making it to term in pregnancy, having a healthy weight at birth, and later have higher cognitive function and in turn, also have higher education attainment.

6. Older moms tend to take better care of themselves.

They tend to eat more nutritiously, exercise and the big one; engage in fewer risky behaviors such as recreational drug use, binge drinking and having multiple sex partners.

7. Some risks of older moms are overemphasized.

For example, everyone knows your risk of having a baby with Down syndrome is much higher after age 35. But consider this, even with the greatly increased risk, the odds of having a child with the disorder when you are 40 is still only 1 percent.

8. Moms of this age have likely established themselves in their careers.

This means you are less likely to need to work a grueling schedule with lots of nights and weekends, because you already paid your dues. You've likely advanced to a steady position with a company, or established your own small business by this point. This means more time and energy can be spent caring for a new baby than younger moms.

9. They are more likely to be married.

Since older moms are more likely to be married, they have a built-in support system in their spouse. Anyone who has parented a colicky baby can immediately understand the invaluable asset of a partner.

10. Older mothers tend to have more money.

The reason: they are more educated and often in stable marriages, so the household benefits from two paychecks instead of just one. While having money doesn't make you a better mom, by any means, having too little can put enormous stress on a new mother.

11. Being older means more life experience.

Even if you've never had a baby before, by age 35 you have lived independently for some time and know what it takes to run a household.Younger moms may be still learning the ropes of independent living.

12. Older Moms are more aware of themselves

Whether it's your first or last child, being older means having a solid idea of what kind of parent you want to be. If you are an experienced mom already, having a baby later in life is unlikely to throw you many curves. If you are a first time mom and over 35, you still have a solid identity and goals for your life and your child's. You've had the years to develop a sense of values and priorities and to adjust to the ups and downs of life.

13. Older moms tend to live longer.

Every older mom has heard the argument that you won't be around to dance at your child's wedding. According to a study out of Boston University Medical Center, women who give birth after age 40 were 4 times as likely to live to see 100 than a woman who is younger when she becomes a mom.

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