Pregnancy Risk Factors

What are the risks of pregnancy over 35?
Pregnant women over 35 are considered to be of advanced age.

What are the risks of pregnancy over 35?

• Increased risk of having a baby with a disease or condition that is inherited. Because it is carried through the genes, this is known as a genetic abnormality.
• Greater chance of complications with the pregnancy. Examples are diabetes, high blood pressure, and cesarean birth.
• Increased risk of miscarriage.

Age is less important than:
• A woman’s health
• Nutrition
• Lifestyle
• Medical and family history
• having good medical care

Prenatal Genetic Screening and Counselling

If you wonder about your chances of having a healthy baby, talk to your health care provider about prenatal genetic screening early in your pregnancy. You can also talk with your health care provider about genetic counselling.

Nuchal Translucency (NT) Ultrasound

NT ultrasound is a special ultrasound done as part of the prenatal genetic screening tests offered to women depending on her age at the time of giving birth and for some women who are at risk of having a baby with a genetic abnormality. It is done around 10-14 weeks. The ultrasound looks at the tiny fluid filled space at the back of baby’s neck.

If it is available in your area, you may be offered a NT ultrasound along with the blood tests. If the NT ultrasound shows an increased risk, follow up tests, like an amniocentesis, may be offered. Although adding the NT gives more information for the screen result, the blood tests are very good screens on their own.

Amniocentesis

This diagnostic test finds genetic abnormalities and it is very accurate. You may be offered an amniocentesis if you are 40 years of age or older, have not had any screening done before your 21st week of pregnancy or your prenatal genetic screening blood tests or ultrasound showed your baby has a higher chance of having an abnormality than expected. Amniocentesis is usually done between 15 and 18 weeks. A needle is used to remove a small amount of amniotic fluid through the mother’s abdomen. This test is done with ultrasound guidance. You will have to wait one to three weeks for the results. There is a small risk of miscarriage with this procedure.

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)

CVS is used to detect genetic abnormalities. You may be offered CVS for several reasons, such as:
• being 40 years of age or older
• having a higher chance of your baby having a genetic abnormality (based on prenatal genetic screening blood tests, ultrasound or NT ultrasound)
• Pregnant with more than one baby.

This diagnostic test can usually be done between 11 and 13 weeks of pregnancy. A small amount of tissue (chorionic villi) is removed through the vagina or the abdomen with a needle. You will usually know the results by 13 to 16 weeks.

Call your health care provider if you notice:
• Bleeding or fluid loss from your vagina
• Your baby’s movements have stopped or really slowed down over a 12-hour period
• You are really tired
• Blurred vision (can’t see properly) and/or headaches
• Sudden or continuing swelling of hands or face

• Abdominal pain or abdomen is hard when touched
Call your health care provider if you notice: • Bleeding or fluid loss from your vagina • Your baby’s movements have stopped or really slowed down over a 12-hour period • You are really tired • Blurred vision (can’t see properly) and/or headaches • Sudden or continuing swelling of hands or face • Abdominal pain or abdomen is hard when touched

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