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What are risks of having a baby if I'm over 40?

The risks of subfertility, miscarriage and fetal abnormalities increase as women age. Women are born with all of their eggs, but as they age the number and quality of viable eggs diminishes. In addition, women may develop health issues that can interfere with the hormonal communication that regulates ovulation or make it difficult to conceive, bear or give birth to children. Although many women have children in their 40s, it is important to have good obstetric care. Some women will also choose to have genetic screening through ultrasounds, bloodwork, choriocentesis or amniocentesis to know early in the pregnancy if their babies suffer from any syndromes or abnormalities.
Social changes have resulted in many women waiting until their 40s to attempt conception. A woman's age is a significant factor influencing three important reproductive processes: 1) conception, 2) miscarriage, and 3) the rate of genetic abnormalities in the fetus. As women age, especially as they become older than 40 years of age, their conception rate declines, and if they become pregnant, the miscarriage rate increases. In addition the rate of genetic abnormalities in the fetus increases as women age. These effects are particularly notable for women more than 45 years of age.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.