Pregnancy At 45 Or After: To Have Or Not To Have

Pregnant At 45

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When Kelly Preston announced to the world about her pregnancy at the age of 47, it created ripples in the media. It prompted television shows to discuss the marvels of science that allowed Preston and her actor husband John Travolta to have a baby so late in life.

Not just celebs, several women are delaying their pregnancies for career or personal reasons, causing experts to research on the consequences of late pregnancies. Some researchers believe that older mothers do not fare as well as the younger ones while some did not find any difference. So, is there anything like ‘too old’ to be pregnant? MomJunction answers this question and a few more! Read on!

Can A Woman Get Naturally Pregnant At The Age Of 45?

Yes. Though rare, it is possible to get pregnant at 45, without the use of fertility treatments (1). Menopause may be round the corner, but unless you have not had periods for 12 consecutive months, there are chances of pregnancy. Also, no two women are in same terms of health, and can experience menopause a little earlier or later.

However, we can assume that the increasing rate of pregnancy over 45 is due to the fertility procedures (2).

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What Are The Chances Of Getting Pregnant At 45?

Getting pregnant at 45 or after is in no way the same as getting pregnant in the 20s. A 30-year-old woman has a 20% chance of conceiving in any given month, which plummets to 5% for a 40-year-old (3). At 45, healthy pregnancy with your eggs comes down to 1%. Through IVF using donor eggs, the chances increase to 70 to 75%.

Getting pregnant after 45 with donor eggs:

Donor eggs can help you conceive after 45. This option is available if you have fertility issues,had repeated miscarriages, or you are at a risk of passing genetic abnormality to the baby. You will have to be screened for blood tests and ultrasounds of the uterus taken to ensure you can carry a baby. Then the doctor will evaluate you psychologically to understand if you are mentally prepared for having a baby who is not genetically related. The fertility treatment starts followed by gathering fresh donor eggs (4).

Once you have conceived, you will experience pregnancy symptoms.

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[ Read: Tips To Improve Chances Of Getting Pregnant ]

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Pregnancy After 45?

The symptoms would be similar to the ones women face in their younger age of pregnancy. But in most cases, they are taken to be the signs of menopause.

The signs and symptoms could be frequent urination, mood swings, headaches, breast changes, incontinence, fatigue, missed periods, nausea, and backaches.

As women over 45 will be at a higher risk of pregnancy complications.

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What Are The Risks To The Mother In A Late Pregnancy?

The risks increase considerably with age. If you conceive at the age of 45 and more, you are at a higher risk of certain health conditions, including (5):

  • Gestational diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Placental problems, where the placenta covers the cervix (placental previa)
  • Cesarean delivery
  • Inefficient uterine contractions to push the baby out
  • Ectopic pregnancy, where the embryo implants outside the uterus
  • High miscarriage rate that is one in two
  • Harder on body as it is difficult to lose baby weight and regain the body shape (6)

Not just for the mother, a late pregnancy increases the risk factor for the baby as well.

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[ Read: Ectopic Pregnancy : All You Need To Know ]

What Are The Risks To The Baby Born To Mothers Over 45?

At around 40, the risk of Down syndrome is one in 100, which increases to one in 10 by the age of 49. There is also an increased risk of other chromosomal abnormalities, stillbirth, and premature labor (7).

Due to this, many older women who want to get pregnant prefer donor eggs assuming the risk is low with younger eggs. Before you make a final decision, discuss about genetic testing with your healthcare practitioner.

However, there are ways in which you can ensure that a late pregnancy is a healthy pregnancy.

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How To Have A Healthy Pregnancy At 45?

In order to have a safe and healthy pregnancy, and lower the risks associated with advanced age, you may take the below measures:

  • Indulge in proper prenatal care
  • Have a well-balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Practice stress management
  • Abstain from alcohol and smoking

Your health practitioner will give you more information after evaluating your complete health and family history. Accordingly, you would be referred to a fertility specialist who can decide on the right treatment.

On the plus side, with a good treatment, healthy diet, and some care, a late pregnancy comes with some advantages.

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What Are The Advantages Of Having A Baby Later In Life?

Remember, the advantages of becoming a parent later in life do not outweigh the benefits of having a baby in your late 20s or early 30s. However, here are some positive points:

  • You have more experiences about life, and are conscious of the risks and circumstances that come along.
  • If it is your second child, you already have experience in bringing up a child.
  • Material wealth and marital status are at a defined level.

Sometimes, you may have decided to not have children, but want to reverse your decision later in life. Let’s see its possibility in the case of a tubal litigation.

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Can You Get Pregnant After 45 If You Had Tubal Ligation?

Tubal ligation is a sterilization procedure to prevent pregnancy. However, in rare cases tubal ligation reversal could happen, resulting in pregnancy rates in one in 1,000 after the first year and two in 10 to 1,000 after five years. Though the possibility is low, there is still a chance of pregnancy. If you have tried to get pregnant and the symptoms seem promising, then check with your healthcare practitioner as you are likely to have an ectopic pregnancy after this procedure (8).

In the next section, we bring you a few stories of women who conceived late in life!

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Some Stories Of Pregnancy Over 45:

Here are the real-life stories picked from Quora about women who conceived after 45 (9). We bet they would definitely offer you hope, comfort, and inspiration if you are planning to get pregnant at this age.

Carole Hobson, a 58-year-old barrister, and social worker underwent five rounds of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment using donor eggs and sperm to fulfill her dream of becoming a mother. She conceived using donor eggs taken from a 24-year-old Indian woman and sperm from a Scandinavian engineering graduate.

A 48-year-old woman from Minnesota was pregnant through IVFusing a donor egg.

Anita Arora, a 46-year-old from Southfields, was found to be pregnant when she came to the hospital complaining of early menopause. The baby was delivered at 29 weeks using Cesarean section and was put in a neonatal unit for recovery.

[ Read: Pregnancy At Age 40 And After 40 ]

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So if you still plan for pregnancy, contact your doctor so that you get the best advice depending on your health and body.

What is your opinion on late pregnancy? Do you think it is normal to have babies at an older age in these changing times? Put your thoughts in the below comment section.

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Rebecca Malachi

"I believe words have power. They are a powerful tool for a creative soul. Being a 'word addict', I express my thoughts and contribute articles on health, wellness and beauty. Apart from writing, I love listening to gospel music and enjoy observing nature in silence."
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