It is well known that women these days aren't having babies as early in their lives as they use to in the past.
This means that women are getting pregnant much later, and therefore are put at the risk of having issues with their pregnancies, and/or having their babies born with birth defects.
This particular topic hits home for me, as my girlfriend and I are planning to get married later this year, and eventually have kids around the end of next year (2011) or the beginning of the following year (2012).
My girlfriend, who's birthday is 2 months after mine (mine being at the end of the year and hers being at the beginning of the year), is the same age as me (31), though she always likes to claim that I'm 1 year older. Anyway, given our plan, she would most likely be 33 by the time that she gets pregnant. Meaning that she would fall into that dreaded risk group of women who are having their first pregnancy after age 30. Granted, she's not in the riskiest group of women who plan to be pregnant after 35 or even 40, but still, there are risks associated with getting pregnant after 30.
CNN.com just released an article where they went over some of the stats based on a woman's age for pregnancy-related risks and risks of birth defects for newborns, and I've captured some of these stats for your review below:
How scary is having a baby when you're over 40?
So just how scary is it for a woman over 40 to have a baby? We asked physicians at the March of Dimes and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists to set the numbers out for us.
1. Higher risk of miscarriage
At age 20: 1 in 10 women
At age 35: 1 in 5 women
At age 40: 1 in 3 women
At age 45: 1 in 2 women
Noncancerous tumors called fibroids and endometriosis, the abnormal growth of the lining of a woman's uterus, can lead to a miscarriage.
2. Higher risk of any chromosomal disorder
At age 20: 1 in 526 births
At age 30: 1 in 385 births
At age 40: 1 in 66 births
At age 45: 1 in 21 births
Women are born with all the eggs they'll ever have. As a woman ages, her eggs also age.
3. Higher risk of Down syndrome
At age 25: 1 in 1,250 births
At age 30: 1 in 1,000 births
At age 35: 1 in 400 births
At age 40: 1 in 100 births
At age 45: 1 in 30 births
At age 49: 1 in 10 births
As a woman ages, the risk of delivering a baby with Down syndrome increases.
4. Higher risk of gestational diabetes
At age 20: 22 in 1,000 women
At age 25: 36 in 1,000 women
At age 30: 51 in 1,000 women
At age 35: 67 in 1,000 women
At age 40: 84 in 1,000 women
Pregnancy stresses the body, requiring the pancreas to produce more insulin. In older women, having a baby can trigger diabetes during pregnancy.
5. Higher risk of preeclampsia
At age 20: 38 in 1,000 women
At age 25: 37 in 1,000 women
At age 30: 36 in 1,000 women
At age 35: 39 in 1,000 women
At age 40: 48 in 1,000 women
Preeclampsia is a sometimes deadly condition of pregnancy marked by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Often when a mother has preeclampsia, the baby needs to be delivered prematurely to save the lives of mother and baby.
Based on these stats, it seems that even women who are in their 20s and are pregnant have major risks associated with their pregnancies. But, overall, the big jump in risks that I can see appears to happen between age 30 and age 35, after which the risks start to rise exponentially.
Anyway, I just thought I would post these statistics as it seemed like useful information to have... Not to mention that they are very applicable to my situation personally.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/publicdomainphotos/3475318390/sizes/o/ by Photos8.com on flickr