Pregnancy in Your Forties

Employment: If you postponed starting a family, you're more apt to be financially stable at this point in your life. Taking maternity leave could affect your position. We suggest meeting with your human resources representative to get prepared and make solid choices.

Risks to Your Baby

Women over 40 have double the risk of miscarriage compared to women in their twenties and early thirties. Most of the time, these miscarriages result from genetic abnormalities that are more likely in woman over 35.

At 40, your chances of having a baby born with Down syndrome is 1 in 106. By the time you're 49, the odds have increased to 1 in 11.

In spite of the increased odds of Down syndrome and other genetic disorders, the overall odds of a healthy baby without complications remains relatively high for moms over 40.

You don't have to abandon your plans to have a baby just because you're over 40 -- at least reproductively speaking. According to obstetrician John R Sussman, co-author of "The Unofficial Guide to Having A Baby," there's plenty of reason to remain hopeful about your odds of taking home a healthy baby. "For the large majority of women, having a baby in their early forties is safe and uncomplicated."

Does it feel like everyone around you is having a baby? Are you in this age group and expecting? Tell us what you think is best or worst thing about being pregnant now.


Medical references:
American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). (2003) Age and Fertility: A Guide for Patients. ASRM, Birmingham, AL. accessed (March 7, 2012).

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