06.10.2015

Healthy baby over 40

The study revealed mothers who give birth over the age of 40 were less likely to have sickly children. This is an indispensable guide for prospective parents wishing to optimise their wellbeing and significantly increase their chances of conceiving and birthing a healthy child. Dr Louise Kenny, professor of obstetrics at University College Cork and a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, says she would never try to talk a woman or couple out of trying to conceive just because she is over 40.
The average age of women giving birth in Ireland is 31.5, according to a 2012 ESRI report on pregnancy and births, and more than one-quarter of all births are to women over the age of 35. Dr Louise Kenny, who is professor of obstetrics at University College Cork and a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, says that despite the well-documented risks, she would never try to talk a woman or couple out of trying to conceive just because she is over 40. Kenny feels the increased risk of Down syndrome in older mothers is often well understood and overestimated by mothers, while the effect of ageing on fertility tends to be less well understood and underestimated.


Women who are trying to conceive at a later age should follow the standard advice to ensure they are in optimal health pre-pregnancy.
Roberts has spent over 40 years in the healthcare industry and has worked closely with the legendary Francesca Naish, co-authoring several books with her. However, the reality is that the majority of these women do conceive naturally and often quite easily, and go on to give birth to perfectly healthy babies. However, either by necessity or choice, the number of women having babies in their 20s has fallen significantly over the past number of decades. The risk of having a baby born with Down syndrome, the chromosomal abnormality women are most aware of, increases from one in more than 1,000 in your 20s to one in 250 at the age of 36. This includes losing weight if necessary, eating healthily, giving up smoking, cutting out or reducing alcohol, and taking folic acid.


There is a comprehensive section on pre-conception health – Roberts recommends you follow her program for four months before even trying to conceive - and the following chapters cover pregnancy diet, exercise, mental health and reducing your exposure to toxins. Women over 40 have a threefold increased risk of the serious pregnancy complication pre-eclampsia, an increased risk of miscarriage and gestational diabetes, and a higher chance of needing a Caesarean section. And while many do go on to have happy, healthy children after this, the fact is that others don't: it would be naive at best to assume your body can be co opted into doing whatever you want it to regardless of age. And if I do it is unlikely to be because the driver of the number 73 has a thing against mums over 40.



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