Having Babies in Your 40s
According to Michael O'Reilly, M.D., an obstetrician and gynecologist in Ansonia, Conn., "More and more women are having babies after 40 due to career commitments, improved contraceptives, later marriage, economic considerations and infertility."
Compared to younger women, women who are 40 and over tend to take far better care of themselves during pregnancy, says O'Reilly. "They can be just as healthy during pregnancy and delivery as women half their age are."
The main risk associated with having a baby after 40 involves the potential for chromosomal abnormalities, which may present as birth defects. While there's a one in 204 chance of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities for a woman who is 35, there is a one in 65 chance of having a child with chromosomal abnormalities for a woman who is 40.
At the age of 45, the risk of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities goes up to one in 20. "Women 40 and over also have increased risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure," said O'Reilly.