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May 10, 2014

WebMD News from HealthDay

Six-year study of Ohio grandmothers found effect

By Barbara Bronson Gray

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) — New U.S. government data confirms the trend: the average age when women have their first babies continues to increase.

For the last four decades, women, on average, have been having first babies later in life than ever before. In 2012, the latest year for which data are available, there were more than nine times as many first births to women 35 and older than there were 40 years ago. Among younger women — those under 30, and, particularly, those under 20 years old — first births have actually declined.

Warning: Doctors have told couples not to leave it too late to try for a baby as they risk having problems conceiving and risk medical complications“We’ve been seeing this for a while now, but it’s somewhat breathtaking to see how broadly it has occurred among both age groups [those 35 to 39, and those 40 to 44],” said T.J. Mathews, a demographer with the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which issued the report May 9 in the NCHS Data Brief.

The data was compiled from U.S. state birth certificates nationwide, taken from the Natality Data File of the National Vital Statistics System. The analysis includes data on all births occurring in the United States, including maternal and infant demographics, and health characteristics for babies born in the country.

The findings suggest possible medical and lifestyle implications, experts said.

The fact that more first births are occurring among women 35 and older suggests family sizes will be declining, since the ability to conceive drops with age, noted Mathews.

“The number of births delayed might mean you’re really not going to have three children,” Mathews added.

The number of mothers who have given birth after their 40th birthday has trebled in the past 20 years - 27,000 today compare with 9,336 in 1989One medical expert agreed. “After 34, your chances of getting pregnant spontaneously, without the help of reproductive endocrinology or fertility services, exponentially decline,” said Dr. Catherine Herway, assistant director of maternal-fetal medicine at Staten Island University Hospital, in New York City.

Older women are also at greater risk of having complicating health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease when they become pregnant, noted Herway. They also are at higher risk for pre-eclampsia, a condition of pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine.

http://www.jillstanek.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/pregnant-older-woman.jpgOn a positive note, Elizabeth Gregory, director of the women’s gender and sexuality studies program at the University of Houston, thinks children of relatively older parents probably fare better. “For kids getting more mature and more educated parents, there are demonstrable outcomes, such as living at a higher economic level,” she said.

Gregory, who has written a book on the benefits of later motherhood, noted that for each year of delay a college graduate makes, she will be likely to earn more. “On average, her long-term salary will increase, so over her career her salary will be twice what it would have been if she’d started at 22. [She can expect] about a 12 percent gain in long-term salary per year [of delaying pregnancy],” she said.

Key findings of the data analysis include:

  • For women 35 to 39, first birth rates rose sixfold from 1973 to 2006 (from 1.7 to 10.9 per 1,000 women).
  • For women 40 to 44, the rate increased more than fourfold from 1985 through 2012.
  • First birth rates rose among older women of all races and origins. Among those 40 to 44, increases in first birth rates rose 171 percent among blacks and 130 percent among whites.
  • For Asian/Pacific Islanders in both age ranges, the rate of first birth in 2012 was almost double that of the next highest group. “They’re having first births at an older age than other population groups,” noted Mathews.

http://www.momlogic.com/images/older-moms-no-regrets-250-thumb-250x250-776341.jpgThere were, however, geographical variations.

Some states saw a greater increase in first births among older women. For example, the first birth rate for women 35 to 39 in Washington D.C., New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming rose at least 40 percent from 2000 to 2012.

During the same time period, the first birth rate for women 35 to 39 increased 30 to almost 40 percent in nine states, according to the report. Only four states saw no increase in first births among this age group: Arizona, Idaho, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

And the first birth rate for women aged 40 to 44 rose at least 60 percent in Washington, D.C., Minnesota, Nebraska and South Carolina from 2000 to 2012, the investigators found.

http://img2.timeinc.net/health/images/healthy-living/pregnancy/older-mom-pregnant-200x150.jpgWhat should women consider as they weigh when, or if, to have children?

“The risk of infertility is probably the most important thing people need to know. They should understand that if they’re delaying childbirth beyond age 34, there’s a very real possibility they may need in vitro fertilization, and that’s not an easy thing to go through,” said Herway.

She also cautions women to realize that as they age, they may not be able to get pregnant using their own eggs. “If they want to get pregnant [after 34], some may not be able to do it with their own genetic material,” she added.

http://cdn.24.co.za/files/Cms/General/d/821/b607c7f7d4ef4e59b2569609b677f0b4.jpgObstetricians and gynecologists refer to pregnancies among women older than 34 as “advanced maternal age” or “geriatric” pregnancies, said Herway. “It doesn’t sound good; you’re just 34 and you’re already considered advanced age.”

Herway, who noted that she herself hasn’t found time yet to have children, warns women against waiting too long to have their first child.

“We have so many things I can test for and medications I can give you, but when it comes down to having children, Mother Nature allows us to have babies at a certain age for a reason. I don’t think we’re smarter than Mother Nature,” Herway said.

Source

Don’t wait too long for a baby: Women are SIX times more likely to suffer from fertility problems when 35 than at 25

By Sophie Borland , Daily Mail

http://achildafter40.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Top-Ten-Susan-Tolefsen-137x250.jpgDoctors have issued a stark warning to couples not to leave it too late to try for a baby.

With more and more women pursuing careers, they and their partners are leaving parenthood to at least their late thirties.

But women aged 35 are six times more likely to have problems conceiving compared to those ten years younger, warns a major study from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

The report says older parents are making it harder for themselves to have children – and increasing the likelihood of serious medical complications for both mother and baby.

By the age of 40, a woman is more likely to have a miscarriage than give birth.

Men’s fertility also declines rapidly from the age of 25 and the doctors estimate that the average 40-year-old takes two years to get his partner pregnant – even if she is in her twenties.

The report is a clear and authoritative wake-up call on the dangers of late parenthood. However, increasing numbers of couples are doing just that without properly understanding the consequences – and the risks.

Separate figures show that the number of mothers giving birth after their 40th birthday has trebled in the last 20 years.

Almost 27,000 babies were born to mothers over 40 last year compared to with 9,336 in 1989.

The doctors insist women should be given clear reminders that ‘the most secure age for childbearing remains 20 to 35’.

Up to 30 per cent of 35-year-olds take longer than a year to get pregnant, compared to only 5 per cent of 25-year-olds, according to the figures in the report by the Royal College.

The research, which looked at several major studies on fertility, also shows that the average childbearing age has risen from 23 in 1968 to 29.3 today.

Expectant mothers in their late thirties and forties are far more likely to suffer complications such as pre-eclampsia, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage or stillbirth and they are also more likely to need a Caesarean.

Babies born to them are more likely to be premature, smaller or have Down’s Syndrome and other genetic disorders.

Doctors warn that government campaigns to cut teenage pregnancy and boost contraception uptake may have resulted in young people thinking they can delay parenthood indefinitely.

They also say that IVF has given women a ‘false sense of security’, despite major breakthroughs in recent years.

Fertility treatment has a 3 per cent success rate for women over the age of 44.

More than half of those having such treatment in their forties use donor eggs, because their own supply has diminished, or the quality of those remaining is not good enough.

The study, published in the medical journal Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, says that risks of prolonging parenthood should be taught at school alongside lessons on safe sex.

Researchers also say charts showing the decline of fertility with age should be put up in surgeries and family planning clinics.

David Utting, specialty registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology at Kingston Hospital NHS Trust and co-author of the review, said: ‘Clear facts on fertility need to be made available to women of all ages to remind them that the most secure age for childbearing remains 20-35.

‘However women and doctors should remain vigilant to prevent unplanned and unwanted pregnancies.’

Fertility experts say that there is not enough provision in the workplace to allow women to simultaneously have children while pursuing a career.

Gedis Grudzinskas, a consultant in infertility and gynaecology, said: ‘Many women I see say they find it very difficult to try to do everything.

‘Society has changed and there is now much more opportunity to follow exciting careers – especially with such inadequate provision of childcare.

‘Women achieve career satisfaction and decide they want to start a family but by this time it is too late and they can’t turn the clock back.’

He added: ‘We should be making it easier for women to start a family while they are at work.’

Jason Waugh, consultant in obstetrics and editor in chief of the Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, said: ‘This review highlights the problems associated with later maternal age.

‘There are a number of reasons why women are leaving it later to start a family, for example, career concerns, financial reasons and finding a suitable partner.

‘However, women should be given more information on the unpredictability of pregnancy and the problems that can occur in older mothers.’

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