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?

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