Getting pregnant later in life: What should we look out for?

My wife and I both in our 30’s with careers…we are going to start trying sooner than later. We are more than financially ready, and will be staying in this area for a while. But biologically, what should we be lookig out for? Should we be increasing folic acid and other multi-vits? I read an article on male biological clocks and garnered some good info , but what about other things?

I posted some fact-type things in GQ this is more for anecdotal info…

Definitely - your wife needs to start with the folic acid now, BEFORE she gets pregnant:

Women in their 30s and 40s also have a higher risk of having Down’s Syndrome children - that can be detected by amniocentesis should you choose to do so.

Yes, I started a thread in GQ about that very thing.

There have also been recent studies indicating that the father’s age at the time of conception may lead to increased risk of Down’s Syndrome.

Folic acid is probably the biggest thing to really be on top of pre-pregnancy. I would suggest 2 flinstones/day (if she can do them, some people gross out on them). My OB/GYN told me that he preferred those over even prescription pre-natals – and my bloodwork (since gastric bypass surgery – when I malabsorb stuff!) shows that they work.

Also, she should start walking (if she isn’t already in good shape) it will make everything easier in the long-run if she is physically in good shape. Walking is a great exercise in general, but especially with pregnancy.

I don’t believe you need amnio anymore. I say this only because NYT published an article regarding a safer method that is now being made available to pregnant women regardless of age. It’s in controversy because 90% of DS foetuses are now aborted.

You should probably know that conception can be harder the older the mother is. Not always though.

I don’t think 30’s is that old though.

Me either :wink:

The main thing I’ve found is that, 8 years after having a baby at 35 1/2, the baby tends to insist I am way too old, WAY, WAAAAAAAY too old to go on Idol.

LOL!! Thats too funny!

Yeah, if it’s not you that’s way, waaaaaaaay too old to go on Idol! You’ll see, mark my words!


We had genetic testing done. We both have Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, and there’s an entire genetic panel for that, so I was tested and came up negative for everything. Other ethnicities have other genetic disorders that can be tested for. I also have a specific genetic defect, so my husband had to be tested for that, but he came up negative. It wouldn’t have stopped us from having children, but a neonatalogist would have had to do some extra observation to make sure we had no problems.

Taking folic acid and beginning an exercise program now are excellent suggestions.

I had amnio in both of my pregnancies (when you have it done by someone who’s done it thousands of times, the risk is incredibly small) although I know they have new tests and combination tests you can have. With my first, I was part of the study for the new tests, plus they gave me amnio, and an extraordinarily detailed ultrasound for free.

Not biological, but an important thing to think about is the change in your life. I was 37 and 40 when my kids were born, and there is some time when you have to change your lifestyle a bit to accommodate the wee ones. We like to hike and camp, and while you can do that with little kids, carrying them and accommodating them can get tiresome. Now that they’re 5 and 3, we’ve gone on short hikes and we’re going to try camping this year. It’s something we didn’t really consider before we had them.

I had my last child at 40, just two months shy of my 41st birthday, so I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the subject. :wink: I was in the best shape of my life when I got pregnant; walking three times a week and yoga 2x a week. I kept it up for a while (the walking, anyway) and then my darling little spawn just wore me down. I’m not sure if it was my age, exactly or his size; he was a full pound larger than my previous child (born 7 years earlier) and came in at a healthy 9 pounds, 7 ounces. By the time I delivered, one week prior to my due date, I was worn out and exhausted.

Which isn’t a good state to be in, going into labor. I was indeed tired, but I was able to deliver completely unmedicated, which, after three previous deliveries, two of which were epidural nightmares is, for me, ABSOLUTELY, the way to go. I cannot imagine recovering from the tearing and other side effects AND childbirth AND exhaustion. As it was, I was feeling pretty much myself by the time the little dear was a month old.

Bottom line advice: your wife should eat and act like she’s pregnant NOW, and take good care of herself. And also don’t sweat it. French fries taste GOOD when you’re gestating. :wink:

(Oh and I will answer any questions asked; I can’t seem to think of any terrif advice off the top of my head.)

She is taking folic acid and has been for the past 6 mos. She is in good shape, not her peak but good shape - Yoga 2x week and walking and or running 2x week. She eats well…But…BUT her stress level at work is unimaginable. She has a big job, and makes lot’o money, has lot’o power ect…etc… and is considering giving it all up for a family. I fully support this, and economically we are ready to do this, I can support us perfectly well with my salary, and we have squirreled away quite a warchest for the coming years.

But the decision is very primal. We want children.

My biggest advice is to make sure you are emotionally ready and ready healthwise. Not for the pregnancy - that’s a peice of cake, but for the committment of having a child.

My sister - with two in diapers - is in the middle of chemo at the age of 38. Its been a stark reminder that what we signed up for with kids is to NOT DIE until they are independant. When you are 25, you are still immortal. When you have your kids later, mortality starts to creep up (so do the bad knees - running behind a seven year old learning to ride a two wheeler is hard at 40!).

There has been some speculation lately that ultrasounds may be responsible for the spike in autism. Of course, it’s not absolute, and IANAD, but I know that if I were to be having more babies, I’d not get one unless it was medically necessary. Why take the chance? Just something to consider.

Another thing is that the first 4 months of pregnancy are exhausting. I was so tired with all 3 of my first trimesters, and so sick, that I can’t imagine having to work during that time. If it’s at all possible for her to take that time off and stay home, I’d recommend it.

One thing that I wish I had known is that 1/3 of all pregnancy’s end in miscarriage by the 8th week. I found out a couple of weeks ago that I was pregnant and it seems I have lost it, but it wasn’t until this happened and I told people that I’ve realized how common it is.

Sorry, it’s a negative thing to say for such a positive discussion, but I think it should be more discussed so people can prepare themselves, just in case.

Is this about that report in August about autism and school violence being liked to ultrasounds, and ultrasounds causing brain abnormalities in fetal mice? If so, forget it. It was all a spoof, a hoax, Onion-style, which unfortunately got picked up on and released to other news outlets by the ASA (Autism Society of America) as if it was a real news story. It spred like wildfire, but if you look into any of the google hits on ultrasound autism, they are either wild conjecture or linked back to this article from this satire site.

I was taken in by it too, but as many editors of real newspapers were as well, I don’t feel so bad.

Oh. Never miiiind.

Thanks for that update- actually I just read about it last weekend.

Bad information on the internet- isn’t that illegal? :stuck_out_tongue:

I agree with all those who have said to get and stay healthy, not just for the labor and delivery but for life. When I was born my mom was 38 and my dad was 48. My mom is still in good health, but my dad, in his 70’s, isn’t. He had two heart attacks before I was 11. Think about that.

Oh thank you. :stuck_out_tongue: