Might you be pregnant in your 40s?
The pros of cons of having a baby in your 40s
Nicole Kidman, Salma Hayek, Halle Berry, Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon - what do these women have in common? They’re all gorgeous, famous and rich for a start, but they also became mums in their fabulous forties.
It’s not just celebrities giving birth later. According to the Office for National Statistics, the fertility rate of women in the UK aged 40 and above has surpassed that of women aged under 20 for the first time since 1947.
Women are waiting longer to get pregnant for a variety of reasons - to establish a career, to travel, they haven’t met Mr Right or they’re just not ready. And while the risks of an older pregnancy are higher, there are plenty of women having trouble-free pregnancies in their 40s, particularly if they don’t smoke, have a normal BMI and a clean bill of health.
Pros and cons of being an older mum
1. Financially you are probably better off in your 40s than your 20s - assuming, of course, that you have no other kids who have already bled you dry with university fees.
2. You are also more emotionally ready - you’ve had time to sow your wild oats.
3. You know your own mind - and there’s less drama in your 40s, which may help you make wiser parenting choices.
4. You’ll be more established in your career - so can take a step back from work once baby comes.
5. Chance of having twins higher - so you could get a readymade family in one go!
1. The odds of actually getting pregnant are lower in your 40s. At 40, your chance of conceiving is about 20%, falling to less than 5% by the mid-40s
2. Higher risk pregnancies: You’re twice as likely to experience gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, high blood pressure, placenta praevia or placental abruption.
3. Birth experience may be harder, the risk of premature labour higher and you are more likely to have to endure a caesarean section.
4. Odds of chromosomal abnormalities increase so there is a higher risk (one in 200) of having a baby with Down syndrome.
5. Higher risk of miscarriage - three quarters of women over 45 do not carry to full term.