Today, over forties are the only UK age group with a rising pregnancy rate. ONS statistics show that while only 12,032 women in their forties conceived in 1990, 28744 did so in 2016. One reason for this is that more women over forty are able to conceive, using the many new fertility options available, but the other reason is that for many women it is the best time to take a career break

But what is it like to conceive and give birth in your forties?

Conception roulette

The older we get the more difficult pregnancy becomes. It’s important to bear in mind that while you may conceive with no problems, women 40 and above are often advised to talk to their GPs as soon as they consider getting pregnant. This gives them greater options and also allows GP oversight from the very beginning – which can be useful when assessing what are normal symptoms of pregnancy and what may be more worrying developments.

Older mothers are more symptomatic

It’s a sad fact that older women have a greater risk of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. If you have any concerns, talk to a medical professional about them. Symptoms such as increased headaches, vision changes, nausea, stomach pain, giddiness, urinating less and shortness of breath could be signs of preeclampsia. Signs of the onset of gestational diabetes include excessive thirst, excessive urination, tiredness, nausea and blurred vision. As you can see, some of these symptoms are also normal pregnancy symptoms, so it’s important to check them out.

Postpartum blues

Some studies have shown that older mothers have difficulties sleeping in the first six months after giving birth, which can be a good reason to consider hiring a maternity nurse to help tide you over the difficult early weeks. On the plus side, mothers over 35 are less likely to develop full-blown postpartum depression.

Birth plans and older mothers

Women who give birth over 40 are much more likely to have a caesarean section than younger mums-to-be. While this may not be what you want, it’s vital that all older mums at least consider how they’d like their c-section to go, as it’s such a high possibility. This means thinking about who you’d like to come into the operating room with you and what effect a caesarean could have on your recovery and return home.

Trust yourself

While this may not seem like it’s been a good news blog post, at The Maternity Nurse Company we know that older mothers often have much more confidence and greater clarity about their needs and wishes. This makes them great to work with, and gives them a strong, positive approach to their birth which engenders a lot of wellbeing for them, and their wider families.

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