In Sri Lankan culture most women marry at a young age and often have children in early 20s. Ideal age to get married and have a healthy baby is between 25 to 30 years of age .

With changes in the past few years and with the improved education of women, the age of marriage gets postponed due to various reasons such as horoscopes not tallying , dowry not available or demanding dowry by the male side , career plans  and so on. As women get married later, it is normal for them to want to have children later.

However after 30 a woman’s fertility also goes down and she may develop familial diseases like hypertension diabetes , familial hypercholesterolaemia and so on.

Though they sound frightening, it should not stop you from trying to have a baby. However you should be aware of the associated risk and know when to call / see a doctor.

Risks associated with Pregnancy after 35

Though there are many women who have healthy babies even after the age of 35, it is common to see many women have complications.

The most common risks include;

  • Increased risk of developing age related  gynaecological problems like fibroids, endometriosis
  • Risk of chromosomal abnormality in the baby
  • Sever vomiting
  • Placenta abruption
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes

Some of these are discussed explained below.

After 35 years of age when women get pregnant roughly one in every 300 women will have a risk of having a chromosomally abnormal baby such as Down’s syndrome. So any woman who is about 35 is offered genetic counseling and need to exclude Down’s syndrome early in the pregnancy. After diagnosing Down’s syndrome parents are given the option of having the baby or termination of pregnancy in countries where termination is legalized. (Abortion is not legal in Sri Lanka to date)

The other typical age related complication women develop is separation of the placenta from the uterine wall. This is called placental abruption. This type of women will have abdominal pain, bleeding per vaginum, and in extreme situations they can have fetal death, coagulation disorders and maternal death. So every women who is pregnant above 35 should seek medical advice if they develop above symptoms.

During the first 3 months of pregnancy these women can have bleeding and needs to check the baby by ultra sound scanning and examination. These of women (i.e. woman over 35 years of age) can have increased of excessive vomiting in pregnancy  known as hyperemesis gravidarum.

Due to fibroids in the mid trimester or any other trimester they can have abdominal pain, abnormal fetal position and premature labour. Due to medical complications such as hypertension, diabetes, ischaemic heart disease they can have intra uterine growth restriction. So it is important to monitor fetal growth by ultra sound scans .

Maternal anxiety , fear and phobias as well as fear about pain during child birth will be additional mood disorders these women will have .

Because of above mentioned complications most often the delivery method recommended is a cesaerean delivery.

Your age should not stop you from trying to get pregnant, it is however better to discuss any doubts with your doctor. Furthermore, most doctors would advise women who are having babies after 35 to have their second or third baby fairly sooner than later.`