If you are 35 or over, you will have been offered an amniocentesis because of the higher risk of fetal abnormality. The amniotic fluid will have been screened for a number of chromosomal disorders, which include down’s syndrome and spina bifida. Of course, you don’t have to have this test, but many mothers find it reassuring.
It is important that you attend all your ante-natal clinics so that a close check can be kept on you and the unborn baby all through pregnancy. Many older expectant mothers prefer to have the ante-natal care at a hospital where expert medical help is on hand. The risk to the baby during labour and birth increases with risings maternal age, but many factors affect labour, including the general health of the mothers during pregnancy. Although nearly 70 percent of women over 30 have normal deliveries, there is a greater risk of complications during labour for women who are over 35. This is usually because the baby is in distress through lack of oxygen because of placental deterioration. As a result of these complications older women tend to have more forceps and Caesarean deliveries.
Birth And The Older Mother
Most older women go full term, and if you are between 30 and 34 there is no reason why you should’nt have a natural birth. If you are 35 or over, or if there is a suggestion that your baby may be small, you may have to have continuous monitoring may also be necessary if there is a likelihood of a prolonged labour, or if the waters, when they break, show some signs of staining . This means that you will be unable to move around freely. But this is a small price to pay for a healthy baby.
Babies born to older mothers have a greater chance of being born preterm. This is often because of the failure of the placenta, which means the baby is no longer getting sufficient oxygen and nourishment. If this happen you will probably have to have a forceps delivery, or you may be offered a Cesarean.