When a woman is 35 years old or older, problems with fertility are a given. But then in today’s modern time, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine says that about one in five women have their first child after they’re 35. If this is the case, perhaps the chances of having twins after 35 are higher today than ever before.
What happens to a woman’s fertility after 35 years of age?
As women become older, the number of eggs decreases. Once they reach their 30’s, women’s fertility declines. Ovulation also tends to be slower than usual and happen less frequently. This happens to naturally prepare for menopause. Finally, women over 35 have more issues with their health that gets in the way of pregnancy.
This includes cysts, endometriosis, fibroids and more. But even amidst these complications, healthy women from age 35 to 40 give birth to healthy babies.
What are the Chances of Having Twins after 35?
The ironic thing about women who are trying to have a baby after age 35 is it is also in this time that the chances of conceiving twins or multiples are higher. In the year 2006 alone, 5% of births among women who were 35 and older were actually twins. For women over 45, this number increased to 20%. Why is this so?
Women over 35 have a higher chance of having fraternal twins or multiples because they have more FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) compared to younger women. FSH is responsible for causing an egg to mature for ovulation every month.
Since older women have extra FSH, it is possible that more than one egg will be released in a cycle.
How to increase the chances of having twins after 35
The basic thing to understand is getting the best prenatal care is the priority for women who would like to conceive twins, especially if they are 35 years of age or more. This not only provides extra protection, but it allows the health professional to be on top of things related to health and potential concerns.
For older moms-to-be, it is suggested to take optional prenatal tests. These special prenatal tests are applicable and are recommended for older moms. It is these kinds of tests that find out the risk of having twins or multiples with birth defects.
Just be sure to ask your health care professional about these tests as to the risks and benefits.
Another thing to do to increase the odds of having twins is to take prenatal vitamins. Taking a daily prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid goes a long way.
Folic acid helps prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord, especially when taken during the first trimester of pregnancy. It is also folic acid that allows a higher level of protection for older women with higher risk pregnancies.
What are common complications when conceiving twins after 35?
There are certain health issues that may cause complications when a woman conceives at an older age. These concerns may happen before and during pregnancy.
Birth defects that include heart defects, cleft lip, spina bifida, and cleft palate are some of the common defects in a late pregnancy. Down syndrome is also part of that list.
Preexisting diabetes and Gestational diabetes
Preexisting diabetes is when a woman has diabetes even before getting pregnant. If there is too much sugar in the blood, it can damage the organs in her body as well as nerves, eyes, blood vessels and kidneys. Gestational diabetes, on the other hand, happens to some women during pregnancy.
Preeclampsia happens usually after the 20th week of pregnancy or right after. It is the most severe form of hypertension. This condition happens when a woman has high blood pressure that may affect organ function in her kidneys and liver. Some symptoms of preeclampsia are protein in the urine, severe headaches, and vision changes.
Premature birth can happen in women who are older. If babies are born before the 37th week of pregnancy, this is considered premature. These babies may have more health problems later in life.
The risk of babies having a low birthweight is also possible. A baby born less than five pounds and eight ounces is considered low birthweight.
Women who get pregnant at a later age would also most likely need a c-section in giving birth. A c-section comes with risks like infection and certain reactions to anesthesia.
Getting a miscarriage is also a known risk for women over 35. This is because they have more eggs with chromosomal abnormalities. A miscarriage usually happens before the 20th week of pregnancy.
Stillbirth, as well, is commonly faced in older women who conceive. This occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy when a baby dies in the womb.
Placenta previa can be developed by women over 35. This is when the placenta covers all or part of the cervix that leads to severe bleeding. This endangers both the mother and the babies.
How to lower the risks of pregnancy problems
As older soon-to-be mothers age, they would need the same level as TLC as their babies. Taking proper care of one’s self makes it a lot easier to manage health issues and prevents a lot more complications from happening.
Here are some important things to keep in mind and do.
Be sure to keep up with doctor appointments. In other words, try not to miss even one.
Maintain a balanced and healthy diet. Prefer fruits and vegetables, beans, lean meats, low-fat dairy, and whole grains.
Keep within the recommended weight and weight gain. Check with your health professional about the proper weight you ought to gain. Gaining the appropriate amount of weight lessens preterm birth and the slow growth of babies. This also lessons high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.
Exercise regularly. Don’t drink alcohol and don’t smoke. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of mental retardation and birth defects in babies. Smoking contributes to premature births and low birth weights in babies. Always consult your doctor about medications.
It is always important to be on the safe side and be particular with every single detail when it comes to your health. This increases the chances of having twins after 35 and more importantly, assures a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery.