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Embracing motherhood in 20s, 30s, 40s: Health experts reveal pros and cons | Health

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While a pregnancy in the twenties has many positives, anxious women can relax as no bells will ring on her 30th birthday and announce the end of her fertility. As per the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the average age at which women give birth now stands at 30 or above.

Dr Vijaya Sherbet, Consultant Obstetrics and Gynecology at Manipal Hospital in Hebbal shares, “We live in times when women have life goals other than bearing children , worthy goals like education and building a career , and I think older women such as I have a responsibility to separate myth from fact for our younger generation.”

Dr Pranita O Somani, Consultant Infertility Specialist at Kamineni Fertility Centre, too roots for the same and asserts, “Giving birth at any age is a big challenge and change. Pregnancy at any age has its pros and cons. With modern women more focused towards work and career in their 20s, marriage and pregnancy happens in 30s. So 30s are the new 20s.”

Motherhood in 20s:

Dr Vijaya Sherbet highlights, “A pregnancy in the twenties has many positives: a young healthy expectant mother, the high possibility of a low risk pregnancy, and even more important – young and enthusiastic expectant grandparents who will provide physical, emotional and moral support to the young parents and newborn.”

Stressing that motherhood is something to look forward to, Dr Anuradha Kapur, Senior Director and Head of unit at Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Max Hospital, alerts, “In the 20s, it is much easier because the complications are much less when the mother is in the 20s.”

Elaborating on the benefits of embracing motherhood in the 20s, Dr Pranita O Somani shares, “In their 20s, the fertility potential is very good and women have 86% chance of conceiving after trying for 1 year. The number and quality of eggs is also good in this age.”

She adds, “Fertility related issues like polycystic ovaries (PCOS) is more common in this age which presents with anovulation and weight gain. After conceiving, chance of miscarriage is less at this age. Conditions like diabetes and hypertension are less likely in 20s. Preeclampsia is more likely in young women and first pregnancy. Chances of caesarean delivery is less in this age as the pelvic muscles are more flexible.”

Motherhood in 30s:

For women looking forward to a pregnancy in their 30s, Dr Vijaya Sherbet assures, “The first thing I say is that biological age does not progress at the same rate as chronological age. You are not a lesser woman for wanting an education and a career. To bear or rear a child when one is ready and willing is a great privilege and many women in their 30s make the sacrifices called for by motherhood happily, having had other affirmative experiences earlier.”

However, Dr Anuradha Kapur cautions, “In 30s and 40s certain complications start increasing like miscarriage, hypertension or risk of chromosome problem. So one should try for the first child by 30 and the second child in late 30s.”

Echoing similar views from health perspective, Dr Pranita O Somani reveals, “In 30s, the fertility potential starts to decline and reduces more after 35 years. A pregnant woman more than 35 years of age falls in the high-risk group. Risk of gestational diabetes and hypertension increases in the 30s. Risk of Down’s syndrome and other neurological disorders in babies increases after mid-30s. Risk of ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages and chance of caesarean delivery increases.”

However, she also points out a comforting fact that women in this age group are more financially independent and mentally prepared for pregnancy and the eventual responsibility of a child.

Motherhood in 40s:

“The demographic that visits corporate hospitals in metros now has a significant number of older women in their late 30 s or 40s considering a pregnancy and to them I would say, if you are fit and in good health, your age need not be an obstacle and the joys of motherhood need not be the preserve of the young,” says Dr Vijaya Sherbet.

She adds, “A useful thing to bear in mind is that it may not be always possible to conceive exactly when planned, no matter what the age. Most couples will conceive within three months of trying, some perfectly healthy couples can take longer.”

Highlighting conceiving complications, Dr Anuradha Kapur says, “In the early 30s there is not such a problem but in 40s obviously, the fertility rate declines. Women should always have a pre-conception counselling before they are planning a pregnancy. AMH levels decline very rapidly after 37 years of age. Then they need to consult and may be take some ovulation induction drugs or injections to conceive.”

Dr Pranita O Somani too is of the similar view and reveals, “In the 40s, the quality and quantity of eggs reduced drastically. Difficulty in conceiving at this age is very likely. Women at this age are more likely to require IVF treatments to conceive. Pregnant women in their 40s fall in the high-risk group. Risk of miscarriages, Down’s syndrome, diabetes, hypertension, preterm delivery and low birth weight babies is very high in 40s. Risk of genetically abnormal pregnancy is 1 in 62 in the 40s. Caesarean section is the mode of delivery in majority women in this age. Bouncing back after pregnancy can be difficult at this age.”

Offering a slew of solutions to these risks, Dr Pranita suggests, “A healthy lifestyle and regular exercise can make it easier. Women who wish to delay their pregnancy can think of oocyte or embryo freezing as an option to preserve their fertility. Pregnancy and motherhood at any age can be difficult or easier depending on the physical and mental status of women but it is better late than never to embrace pregnancy and motherhood.”


Courtesy – www.hindustantimes.com

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