•One-in-100 probability of a Down syndrome child.
•One-third odds of a miscarriage.
•Two-fold danger of stillbirth.
By medical requirements, the dangers of getting a toddler on the age of 40 are unnerving sufficient to place a damper on any baby-making plans.
But extra older mums are thumbing their noses on the gloomy statistics.
Think 40-something actresses like Halle Berry and Fann Wong, each of whom defied statistical odds and delivered wholesome infants.
In October this yr, 50-year-old singer Janet Jackson confirmed her first being pregnant and confirmed off her child bump.
In reality, the variety of women conceiving in their 40s has doubled over the previous three many years in Singapore. Last yr, there have been 9 births for each 1,000 women aged 40 to 44, in comparison with four.5 in 1985, in response to figures from the Singapore Department of Statistics.
The media has highlighted many older women who’ve had profitable pregnancies. But with regards to organic benefit, there’s a big distinction between a 20-year-old and a 40-year-old lady.
DR YEONG CHENG TOH, a advisor gynaecologist and reproductive endocrinologist at Virtus Fertility Centre Singapore.
In distinction, the variety of women having infants between the ages of 25 and 29 – thought-about the optimum age for motherhood – has depleted by 50 per cent in the final 30 years.
But is age only a quantity in relation to having infants? To a sure extent, sure.
Advances in synthetic reproductive methods like in vitro fertilisation (IVF) have made it potential for couples to have infants later in life, particularly for these with fertility issues, stated Dr Tan Eng Loy, a advisor on the division of obstetrics and gynaecology at Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
That is as a result of IVF boosts a lady’s probabilities of conceiving, no matter her age, stated Dr Yeong Cheng Toh, a marketing consultant gynaecologist and reproductive endocrinologist at Virtus Fertility Centre Singapore.
Improvements in screening strategies and higher ultrasound gear additionally imply that abnormalities and birth defects in unborn infants are detected extra precisely early in being pregnant, in line with the docs.
Minimise the dangers
These are three issues older moms ought to do to minimise dangers throughout being pregnant and childbirth, in response to Dr Tan Eng Loy, a advisor on the division of obstetrics and gynaecology at Singapore General Hospital.
1 IF YOU ARE TRYING FOR A BABY
See your physician to make sure that you will have good management of any present medical issues like diabetes or coronary heart circumstances.
You might have to regulate your treatment in order that it doesn’t have an effect on your probabilities of turning into pregnant or your unborn child’s health.
2 IF YOU ARE PREGNANT
Make an appointment together with your gynaecologist as quickly as your property urine being pregnant check exhibits constructive outcomes, at round 5 to 6 weeks, in order that you’ll get correct antenatal care.
Stay up-to-date with screening exams similar to these for Down syndrome, and detailed ultrasound scans.
You may even be checked for gestational diabetes, which is often accomplished between 24 and 28 weeks.
three IF YOU ARE IN YOUR THIRD TRIMESTER
Closer to your estimated due date, at round 39 weeks, you might be induced for labour to decrease your danger of a potential stillbirth. Discuss this together with your physician.
A Finnish research has discovered that age, by itself, doesn’t pose vital being pregnant and childbirth dangers for a mom over the age of 35.
But her danger of problems – resembling pre-term birth, a small child and stillbirth – will increase dramatically if she smokes, or is obese or overweight, and has pre- eclampsia or gestational diabetes, in line with the research revealed in the Journal Of Maternal-Fetal And Neonatal Medicine.
What about restoration after birth?
Well, that is dependent upon the lady’s health earlier than being pregnant, Dr Tan stated.
If an older mum is wholesome and match, she might have higher stamina and get well from labour quicker than a youthful mum who’s much less match or has medical issues, he added.
But even older mums with medical circumstances, resembling coronary heart illness and diabetes, now have a greater probability of having fun with a clean being pregnant, because of advances in antenatal care.
For occasion, SGH conducts high-risk being pregnant clinics thrice weekly to make sure that moms are nicely taken care of.
BIOLOGICAL CLOCK TICKS ON
Still, there are limits as to what medical science can do. It can’t change the truth that a lady’s fertility takes a nosedive after 35, making it more durable for her to turn out to be pregnant, the docs identified.
Dr Yeong stated: “The media has highlighted many older women who have had successful pregnan- cies. But when it comes to biolo- gical advantage, there is a huge difference between a 20-year-old and a 40-year-old woman.”
A lady in her 40s has an roughly one-in-six probability of conceiving naturally with each cycle, he stated.
Dr Tan added that if and when she will get pregnant, she additionally faces a better danger of miscarriage.
Age can also be an important issue in figuring out whether or not fertility remedies like IVF work out, stated Dr Yeong.
Women under the age of 35 have a 60 to 70 per cent probability of turning into pregnant via IVF. Those above 40 have solely a 20 to 25 per cent probability.
While older mums might have medical advances on their aspect at this time, the dangers shouldn’t be downplayed.
Take the chances of getting a child with Down syndrome. A 40-year- previous mum’s danger of getting such a child is 10 occasions larger than if she have been underneath the age of 30.
Dr Tan stated: “Medical advances have helped us to detect unborn Down syndrome babies more accurately. But very little can be done to prevent them, other than conceiving at a much younger age.”
PRICE OF BEING AN OLDER MUM
Because they could require extra screening checks and detailed scans, mums who want to increase their households in their 40s ought to take into consideration the bills, monetary providers supervisor Fong Yong Hui stated.
An instance is non-invasive prenatal testing, a brand new check that screens for Down syndrome.
Women taking the check at SGH can anticipate to pay a subsidised price of round $1,000. They can’t use their Medisave for it, Dr Tan stated.
They may have to be induced into labour nearer to their due date. It is really helpful that they ship their infants earlier than 40 weeks, to decrease the potential for a stillbirth.
“All of the above are likely to translate to increased costs,” he added.
Delaying motherhood additionally signifies that these mums can be near retirement age by the point their baby is prepared for tertiary schooling, Ms Fong stated.
With the estimated value of elevating a toddler in Singapore starting from $200,000 to $1 million, juggling a toddler’s schooling funds and getting ready for retirement is usually a problem.
Although older mums are sometimes deemed extra financially safe, Ms Fong stated this is probably not true.
“Ultimately, it boils down to her lifestyle. A 40-year-old woman who chose to live it up during her younger days may not be more financially secure than a younger mum who has been diligently saving since her early 20s,” she stated.
“If you wish to have children later, it is important that you start saving as early as possible.”
• This article first appeared in Young Parents journal. Young Parents, revealed by SPH Magazines, is on the market in each digital and print codecs. Go to www.youngparents.com.sg to subscribe and for extra parenting tales.