How old is too old for a safe pregnancy?

When should you have a child? Modern parents are choosing to complete their professional courses, earn 10-12 years of work experience, and then think about possibly having a child. But, as per an infertility expert, by then problems relating to infertility and bad obstetrical history could arise.

With the latest advancements, and cutting edge treatment options, you can get pregnant and have a child even at the age of 50. However, the best time to have a child is between 20-35 years, says Dr Sushma Tomar, Infertility specialist and Endoscopic surgeon, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan.

After you pass this age the complications leading to infertility increase manifold, the pregnancy could be impacted by diabetes and high blood pressure, one could have a premature delivery, one could have stillborn delivery and importantly, chances of an operative delivery increases.

So, it is always safe to have a planned pregnancy and delivery before 35 years of age. “These days, every couple is planning one or two children, to ensure that these children are healthy, we do repeated ultrasonography in third and fifth month to spot anomalies in the baby. We also do different double marker, triple marker and quadruple marker blood tests to spot any genetic abnormalities that that unborn baby could have,” the doctor said.

“The risk of your child having these abnormalities increases after the age of 35 years, so we advise you to try and complete your family before you hit that age mark,” she added.

If you decide to have a late pregnancy, you, along with your partner should opt for premarital counselling, preconception counselling, and make frequent visits to your gynaecologist during pregnancy.

Around 90 per cent of women get pregnant within a year, before the age of 30 years, after having unprotected sex. After 30, the chances decrease by 3 per cent every year. A 40-year-old woman has 10 per cent chances to conceive naturally and those above 40 years have a 5 per cent chance to conceive naturally.

As per Dr Sushma, it is tricky to answer the question �how old is too old to get pregnant?’ In general, fertility starts decreasing after 27 years and then decreases significantly after 37 years of age.

There an increased risk of miscarriage and pregnancy-related complications after 35 years of age. Rate of early pregnancy loss is around 15-20 per cent for women below 30 years of age, it begins to increase after 35 years of age.

By the time a woman nears or crosses 49 years of age, the rate of miscarriage is about 40-50 per cent.

Each woman is born with a large number of eggs but with age, the number and quality of eggs decrease. Age-related obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes further impacts fertility and increases the rate of complication.

Staying healthy can improve the chances of having a healthy pregnancy; importantly, diet and exercise do not affect the ovaries. Now that you know the risks associated with late pregnancies, make informed choices.