Older age

It’s common these days for women to have a baby in their late thirties or forties. While most of these pregnancies are healthy, there are some things to bear in mind

Older women are more likely to develop gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia than younger women during pregnancy. And they’re also more likely to have diabetes or high blood pressure before they become pregnant. Because of this, older women have a higher risk of complications and problems during pregnancy

Sadly, the likelihood of having a stillborn baby is higher in older women, too. The reasons that this happens more often in pregnancies in older women aren’t clear; some experts think that an older body is less able to support the pregnancy in the very final weeks

Artificially starting labour (called an induction) at the end of pregnancy, but before the baby is at risk, is recommended for some women. Although having induction does not increase the chance that a woman will need an emergency Caesarean section, more research studies are needed to show clearly that induction reduces the risk of having a stillbirth

NICE currently recommends that women are offered an induction if their pregnancy would otherwise go past 42 weeks. Some hospitals offer an earlier induction to older women and women with certain medical conditions, such as gestational diabetes or raised blood pressure

If you're having a baby later in life

  • Go to all your antenatal appointments and have all the checks and tests recommended
  • Make sure you know when the results from tests are expected, and ask about your results if you aren’t told
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