Category Archives: Parenting

The Effects of Age on Pregnancy and Birth

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Last year, I was contacted by Amy Herring, an eighteen year old student studying for her A Levels in Biology, History and Maths. She has applied to study Midwifery at University this coming September, and in relation to this goal, she has completed a research project on the effects of age on pregnancy and birth. I was immediately interested by the subject matter of her research.

Amy chose to write about the effects of age on the pregnancy continuum because as someone aspiring to be a midwife, to support a woman and her family through any situation, she wanted to broaden her knowledge in advance of starting her training; to prepare herself for the many different situations she is likely to encounter. She is particularly interested in pregnancy in older women as this is becoming more common in the UK for a variety of reasons. Amy feels that although pregnancy in older women poses its possible risks, it’s an option that all women should feel they are able to consider. In her opinion, midwives and other health professionals should present women and their families with their options in a way they can understand.

Amy’s research tested the hypothesis, ‘Is there an optimum age, that is not too old or not too young, for women to bear children’. To calculate the optimum age window, she made comparisons between ‘young mums’ (women aged under 18), ‘older mums’ (women aged 35 and over) and the ‘middle’ category mums, those falling between the two extreme categories; her argument being that mothers outside the optimum age window may have troublesome pregnancies, possibly resulting in complications in utero or a baby that experiences difficulties.

Amy’s research looked at conception and birth statistics, childhood data, data she collected from a ‘Bosom Buddies’ breastfeeding class, the lifestyle choices of women and the prevalence of pre-existing health conditions. Amy used many studies; these studies showed that older mums are more likely to experience complications such as gestational diabetes, placenta praevia and pre-eclampsia, and are more at risk from ectopic pregnancies and miscarriage. However, it is important to realise that Amy’s research was not complete; as she concludes: “Items have been cited in this project as needing more research; for example factors other than age, such as marital status, and how these affect outcomes.”

The research concluded that women in the ‘middle’ category – aged between 25 and 35 –   have the healthiest and safest pregnancies, for both the women and the babies. The older a woman becomes, the greater her risk of a pre-existing condition affecting her and her foetuses wellbeing. The exceptions to this are epilepsy, where women of 35 have the lowest risk and asthma, which affects women in the ‘middle’ category most commonly. Although Amy comes to this conclusion, she mentions in her project that older women do have factors which could make their pregnancy and birth more successful such as life experience and a more stable environment in which to raise a child.

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Older Mums thoughts…

So what does this mean for older women who have not settled down with a partner yet? One word stands out; HEALTH. For any woman wishing to conceive over the age of 35, just as I did, physical, emotional and mental health have to be top priorities. No smoking. No drinking. Plenty of exercise (and meditation to reduce stress levels). A well balanced diet, as much organic food as possible. Lots of rest and relaxation. I think there are many women out there who would ideally love to conceive at the ‘optimum age’ but can’t due to many reasons beyond their control; no partner, not feeling emotionally or psychologically ready (as I did), career demands. There are many many reasons as to why a woman may want to conceive later in life. Amy realises that a woman’s choice is an important factor in this decision. Society needs to accommodate this factor and all others, the world is not as it was, women are having children later, and this is something that won’t change.

Physical risks aside, there are many positives older women have in becoming a parent later in life; maturity, life experience, financial stability, older mothers tend to be in a solid relationship, all factors which can only contribute to the upbringing of a well adjusted, happy child. At the end of the day, we are talking about the raising of confident, secure human beings, and that is an issue which lies at the door of parenting, not age.

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I would like to thank Amy for sending me her research. It is important to be educated on the physical risks of pregnancy, and reminded of the importance of a healthy lifestyle and diet when considering becoming pregnant. I have a strong hunch Amy is going to make a great mid wife.

Amy’s research, The Effects of Age on Pregnancy and Birth, is protected under the Copyright of oldermum.co.uk. All rights reserved. 

 

Last Minute Stocking Fillers

Well it’s nearly here, Christmas I mean, and the goose is getting rather plump indeed. I’ve most of my presents sorted and wrapped, but have to admit to struggling with my daughter’s stocking fillers this year. She loves reading, she loves books, but where was I to find the perfect sized books for my nearly three year old that would fit snugly in her Christmas stocking?

Well the Christmas fairy heard my pleas, and as if by magic, Egmont publishers sent me three books to review. And I know my little girl is going to love them all. I can’t wait to see her face light up when she tears off the wrapping paper to find Meet Father Christmas, The Last Snowball and Snowy Tracks.

Each book makes a great stocking filler, and at £2.99 each they make the ideal gifts for budding little readers.

MR MEN – Meet Father Christmas

Follow Little Miss Tiny on a journey to the North Pole to meet Father Christmas. On her adventures she flies over Muddleland, Cleverland, Nonsenseland and Coldland! This is the perfect-before-Christmas-read, and one I will certainly be reading to my toddler on the excitement of Christmas Eve.

Mr Men book

EVERYTHING’S ROSIE – The Last Snowball

My little girl just loves Everything’s Rosie. Rosie’s such a colourful character and this book doesn’t disappoint. But this isn’t a Christmas story – it’s set at the turning point of Spring, when the last snow is thawing and the animals are awakening from hibernation. Big Bear is very upset to find he has missed the snow, so Rosie and her friends come up with some very inventive ideas to give Big Bear a wintry experience to remember. The Last Snowball is a fun way of teaching young children about the changing seasons.

Everything's Rosie - The Last Snowball

THOMAS AND FRIENDS – Snowy Tracks 

Who doesn’t like the Thomas The Tank Engine stories? I know that I was an avid reader of the series as a child and now my little girl enjoys them too! The Island of Sodor has had a heavy snow fall. Thomas is tasked with delivering firewood to the stations while Gordon has to take some trucks to the Docks. But what will happen on the icy, slippery railway tracks? A tale of teamwork and cooperation, and a great winter read.

Thomas and friends - Snowy Tracks

Older Mum’s recommendation for all three titles –