4 Surprising & Optimistic Facts About Having a Baby in Your 40s

Dawn Davenport

17

More women are having babies in their 40’s and most are worried about the risks. Without minimizing the very real increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities, miscarriage, and preeclampsia, there are some less scary things about being pregnant in your 40’s that you probably don’t know.

facts about having a baby over 40

  1. Older parents are significantly more likely to have daughters than are younger parents.
  2. Women in their 40’s are more likely to give birth to left-handed children.
  3. Older pregnant moms are more likely to conceive non-identical twins even without fertility treatment. As a woman ages, her follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) increases. FSH develops eggs inside the ovaries prior to being released into the fallopian tubes. High FSH levels can cause two or more eggs to release, which can result in fraternal twins. The likelihood of spontaneously conceived twins rises from 1/80 in a 25-year-old woman to 1/40 in a 42-year-old expectant woman.
  4. Women who give birth in their late 30’s and 40’s live longer. Research indicates that women who have one or two children in their 30’s and 40’s have a greater chance of living into their 80’s and 90’s. One study found that women who lived until at least the age of 100 were four times more likely to have had children in their 40’s than women who survived only to the age of 73.

If you are considering having a baby in your 40’s what do you worry about? What do you look forward to? What are your thoughts on older motherhood?

Other Creating a Family resources you will enjoy:

Originally published in 2016; Updated in 2019
Image credit: CNN (good article on risks of pregnancy over 40)

22/07/2019 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Blog, Infertility, Infertility Blog, Infertility Resources | 17 Comments



17 Responses to 4 Surprising & Optimistic Facts About Having a Baby in Your 40s

  1. Avatar Chin says:

    I had my First girl at 27year and she is 10yr completed and second girl is 6yr old both are c-section having 4years gap and their born weight is 3.6kg ~. Now I am 37 and I am planning for another baby at 38/39. till now never used any birth control.

    I am little confused to go with third one or not. I am looking for boy this time.
    I/he dont have any medical complaints. My. periods are regular now having 30-31 days of intervals.

    Please suggest me on my third child and also some ideas of Boy baby.

    • Tracy Whitney Tracy Whitney says:

      Thanks for reading. As we are not medical professionals, you will have to speak with your doctor about your plans to have another baby and other related medical questions. A general practitioner should be a fine place to begin. You’ll need to supply a full medical history and be clear what your goals are. That first appointment will give you a lead on what your next steps would be. Best wishes!

  2. Avatar Laura says:

    I will be turning 40 in November and recently had my annual obgyn check up. My husband and I have a 3 year old who will be 4 in October. He was born with 3 congenital heart defects that required open heart surgery at 5 weeks old. I spent the first two months of his life in the Nicu and picu at strong memorial children’s hospital. Before that I lost two babies to miscarriage at about 7 weeks. I found out after my second loss I have factor 5 Leiden and had to take Lovenox shots to sustain my pregnancy with my son. I delivered him two weeks before my 36th birthday. I requested a referral for genetic counseling so we can decide if we are going to go ahead with our plan to conceive in October. Am I crazy for wanting another baby after everything we have been through? Am I being realistic or setting myself up for heartbreak?

    • Tracy Whitney Tracy Whitney says:

      Laura,

      You are not crazy for wanting another baby. It seems to me that it’s a very normal response to the great love and joy that your child brings to your life.

      We are not medical professionals so we cannot give you medical advice. Your best plan of action is to work with your doctors, ask for a referral to a reproductive specialist if you are not already working with one. Talk with them about your hopes and craft a plan that will give you all a full picture of the possibilities to help you make the best decision for you, your husband, and your son.

      Best wishes to you all.

  3. Avatar Jennifer says:

    I am 41 and engaged to be married after 9 years with my Fiance. He has a 10 year old daughter with a previous relationship. We never planned on having a baby until this year when we started talking about having our own. I accidently forgot my birth control the end of April and found out I was pregnant the end of May. At first I was scared b/c I was about to go dress fitting for the wedding and now needed to plan for a baby to arrive 5 months before our wedding next July. We were set to have our 1st ultrasound this past Wed. but a week before that ( I would have been 10 weeks) I started to spot. For 2 days it was light but over the 4th of July weekend I ended up losing the baby. I had what I can only explain as contractions every 4 min. for 3 hours in a car and delivered the baby in the bath tub late July 5th. It was heart breaking. We both really wanted this baby and had already picked out names.
    We have decided that we are going to try again but now we are in a time crunch. Do we try again now and move our wedding back or do we wait and get preg. closer to the wedding before I start to show next year? My OBGYN said that I am as healthy and fit as a 30 year old and with no real medical history to worry about I should have no trouble with a new pregnancy. In my heart I know we would rather have a baby but am worried about the stress of planning a wedding during a pregnancy.

    • Tracy Whitney Tracy Whitney says:

      Oh, Jennifer. I’m so very sorry for your loss. That’s heartbreaking to read and I hope you guys can find some time and space to grieve your loss even in the midst of this “time crunch” you mention.

      No one can really assess for you guys what the right answers are to these questions. That said, I can share my own experience of needing to “know” that I was healthy and able to do this “conceiving and carrying thing.” And of needing the connection to and advice from my doctor but also of the women in my life who had experienced similar struggles. My “village” of women was vital to me at that time of my life when I lost my first pregnancy. My husband was willing to let me lead the way on the next steps because this was such unfamiliar territory for him.

      So, what does your fiance say? Is he willing to try again soon, once your body heals? Or is he reluctant? Have you guys tried talking through these questions yet? (I admit, it might be early to do that just yet.)

      All of this to say, I think that being ready to move forward is something you will know together – when and how. And maybe even why. Honest, heartfelt conversations together to support and encourage each other through first, this loss, and then paving the path ahead.

      Best wishes to you and again, I’m so sorry for your loss. May you find peace and healing and comfort in these days ahead.

      • Avatar Janice Iosefa says:

        I am 43 and I had 2 boys from my previous marriage, that was in my mid 20 age. I have fiance that we have been to get her more than 10 years and we did try to have a baby but luck was never on our side and I never thought to go in to see the doctor to get myself checked cause I had 2 jobs and never thought of having kids then till now. I don’t take birth pills and I had irregular periods, like I would miss months before my next period but now I get it every month but last for a week or so. Is it possible I can still get pregnant at this age?

        • Tracy Whitney Tracy Whitney says:

          Janice,

          Thanks for reaching out and asking. It sounds like it’s a good idea to speak with your medical professional – your general practitioner should be a fine place to begin – to talk about some of the issues that you’ve mentioned here. You’ll need to supply a full medical history and be clear what your goals are. That first appointment will give you a lead on what your next steps would be. We are not medical professionals so we can’t advise you about your specific health condition or plans.

          Best wishes to you though!

  4. Avatar Debra Carrillo says:

    Im 39 and have 3 living children. I am now remarried and would like another baby , its been a year and nothihng i did have a miscarrige in 2018 before we married what am i doing wrong ?

    • Tracy Whitney Tracy Whitney says:

      I’m sorry, Debra, for your loss. It sounds like it’s time to seek some guidance from your personal physician. He or she will do a full review of your medical history and talk with you about the factors you are facing in trying to have another baby. This resource might be a good read before you go: http://ow.ly/PlPP50y8pb8

      Best wishes to you.

    • Avatar HJ says:

      Don’t blame yourself. It may not be anything you did unless you tried some stunt that resulted in the miscarriage and even if that were true, you didn’t intend for it to happen. Miscarriages happen for many reasons. It is a good idea to seek a fertility specialist. Maybe thyroid levels are off, maybe egg quality is the issue, or anything else. Only a diagnosis can tell what you need to do to improve your chances. So grieve your loss because you need closure. However, don’t take on blame for something that’s not in your control. Instead look forward to the future.

  5. Avatar Amy says:

    I just found out that I’m pregnant. I will be 43 in October. I was told 3 years ago that it would be impossible to conceive. Well, it happened — with no treatments at all. Now I’m just worried about miscarriage and all the scary statistics about women over 35 basically being at higher risk for EVERYTHING.

    • Tracy Whitney Tracy Whitney says:

      Congratulations, Amy! What joy you must be feeling right now. But yes, the fear and worry about “something” or “anything” going wrong is probably right at the back of your throat too. Here are a couple resources that might help you prepare for “older motherhood.” And again, congrats!

      http://ow.ly/uf5M50vDawT

      http://ow.ly/1Jbk50vDazz

    • Avatar Yvonne says:

      Hi Amy my name is Yvonne I’m from Los Angeles and I too am 43yo and just had a positive pregnancy test without any fertility treatments.
      How are you so far in your pregnancy? I hope you are feeling well🙏🏼 Any issues or pointers you can offer? My youngest is 10yo now so it’s been awhile since I’ve been through this beautiful blessing

      • Tracy Whitney Tracy Whitney says:

        I know you didn’t ask me, Yvonne, but I wanted to jump in and say Congratulations! And to offer this resource about “older mom” parenting. Should You Become a Mom at 40… – it’s a really interesting radio interview that we did a few years ago.

        I am an older mom, having started over after a 6-year difference between my youngest bio and my first adopted child. There are some great things about it and some challenges. Mostly my energy levels, honestly. But the younger two are such a blessing to our home and I am so glad I didn’t give in to my fear about being too old to do it all again.

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