Tag Archives: pregnancy over 50

Last Chances

Catherine is the owner of Borntolove.com and wonderfully supportive blogs, Pregnancy Over 44 and Baby After 40. I would like to be able to say that her story has a happy ending. Sadly, it doesn’t. What her story did do was spur her on to support other women trying to conceive much later in life.

I met my second husband when I was 49 years old. Despite using birth control, I had a surprise pregnancy!

I carried that special baby for 8 weeks before it ended in a horrible miscarriage. Since my husband had no children of his own, we decided to try again.

We even worked with an RE for a short time, with monitored natural cycles. There were more losses over the next few years.  I was patient, and persistent. I picked myself up after each loss, and I got back on that roller coaster ride again. I never missed an opportunity to try. While I came to accept the reality of my age, I never stopped believing it could happen, I never stopped hoping for a happy ending. I did what I could to protect my heart, to ignore the statistics and the naysayers, and yet be realistic to the fact that it might have already been too late for me.

Between 49 and 53 I experienced natural pregnancies six times… I fell pregnant for the final time at 53 years old. I would rather not make a big deal about my age. All I can claim is incredible luck and genetics (my great-grandmother had five children after 40 years of age!). How old I am will have no effect on your personal chances of success or failure. The menopause occurs in 25% of women by 47, 50% by 50, 75% by 52 years old. I know I took a big chance, but it was the choice I made for myself.

Very sadly, my final pregnancy ended at 15 weeks.

Not longer after, the menopause arrived.

Due to my age and history of loss (5 more losses during a previous marriage), we were turned down for donor egg, and turned down for foster care/adoption of infants. We had hoped to adopt from a teen family member, but the baby was born with Trisomy 18, lived her short life in hospital and passed away at 5 months.

I know we could have fought longer and harder, but for my own sanity, we decided it was time to stop. I still struggle with it though, and have sad moments.

I don`t want my story used to prove that “if you wait long enough you can get pregnant with your own eggs”. Because that very well may not be true for you. Most of you may not be willing or able to wait that long. You may not welcome parenthood that late in live. Or you may very well hit menopause long before you get the chance.

However, through my pregnancy blogs, I have helped so many women keep up their hope and find their own success – so I feel like I continue to bring well-loved, so-wanted babies into the world!

 

Older Mums And Pregnancy Risks

In the following clip Professor Philip Steer, Consultant Obstetrician, at the Chelsea and Westminster hospital talks realistically and positively about pregnancy over 35, 40 and 50. He has monitored the pregnancies of women in their late 40’s and 50’s. He stresses that its not the physical age that’s the problem but aging eggs. Women in their 50’s are a lot healthier and fitter and will usually experience a straightforward pregnancy after successful conception with the donor egg of a younger woman.

Overall older women can expect to experience straightforward pregnancies. Professor Steer says that older mothers tend to be highly motivated, have lots of life experience and are educated which compensates for the exhaustion experienced when the baby arrives.

Professor Steer advises the main risks during pregnancy are;

1. Downs Syndrome

The average statistics for the population are 1 in 700 babies will have this chromosomal disorder. At 35 this increases to 1 in 350. At 40 the probability increases to 1 in 100 and over the age of 45 its 1 in 10.

2. High blood pressure
3. Diabetes – Insulin production declines and sugar levels increase as we age.

Women who have been known to have high blood pressure and diabetes before pregnancy are at greater risk but will be constantly monitored throughout preagnancy.

4.Pre term birth
5.Multiple birth – Older mothers have a higher rate of twins.

As a woman ages it becomes more difficult to give birth naturally due to the pelvic floor muscles stiffening up. The rate of c-sections for older mothers is 40 – 50% although this might also be a result of augmenting the process of labour due to a woman’s age. Older mums also tend to birth larger babies especially if they have had diabetes during the pregnancy.

Professor Steer advises if that if you are 35 years old and over to consider the following;

1. There is no perfect time to have a baby so you need to think about getting on with it if you want to increase your chances of conceiving naturally. This is all well and good if you have a partner!
2. Have a health check before you start the journey of conceiving a baby. Have your blood pressure checked and if you have had or have diabetes, have your blood sugar levels monitored.
3. Find an obstetrician who is experienced in pregnancy in older women.
4. Consider the optional screening tests for chromosomal disorders and diagnostic tests like amniocentesis although the latter does come with risk of miscarriage. If you are aged 43 or 44 and over you might want to consider going straight to a diagnostic test.