Doctor offers tips on pregnancy over age 35
When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry recently announced that they were expecting a child, the world offered collective congratulations to one of the United Kingdom’s most cherished royal couples. For women considering pregnancy over age 35, (Meghan is 37) the news may be even more special. “Such news represents a greater trend toward later childbearing. While infertility rates at this are higher than average, most couples are able to conceive,” says Daniel Kort, MD, Associate Medical Director of Neway Fertility.
The latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control indicates that birth rates for women in their 30s are at their highest levels in four decades, while birth rates for women in their 20s are slowing down. “While there are many legitimate reasons to postpone pregnancy, this is not the best choice for everyone. As a society, we must remain mindful of the modest increased risk of infertility and pregnancy complications as women age” Dr. Kort says.
“Such a critical life decision to get pregnant, and when to do so, is incredibly personal and involves different factors for each woman and/or couple,” explains Dr. Kort, who is fellowship-trained in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. “But for women over 30, these choices can be complicated by the passing years. The good news is, the vast majority of pregnancies in women over 30 end with a healthy baby and a healthy mom.”
Conceiving in your 30s
Simply put, it’s not as easy to become pregnant after 30 as it is before, Dr. Kort notes. But that doesn’t mean the news is all dire. “The majority of women conceive without fertility assistance in their 30s, with estimates ranging from 70-85%,” he says.
Staying pregnant is also more difficult after age 30, with the miscarriage rate increasing over the next decade and beyond. “Most miscarriages result from chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus, and the chance of this increases as women age,” he explains. “But every pregnancy carries the risk of miscarriage, and most women in their 30s carry their pregnancies to term.”