This is an exclusive Pulse blog by Medical doctor, Dami Daniels. "...Unlike sperm in men which is constantly produced throughout life, a woman is born with all the eggs she'd ever have..."
I have had many women ask me how old is too old to have a child? Various women for various reasons have had cause to have children late in their reproductive career. For some it might be delay in child bearing, others, career goals and some others simply like the sights & sounds of the delivery room & despite having a litter at home keep going back for more.
Let's take a little walk through medical jargon land. The ovaries (the female organ that houses eggs) of newborn female contains about 1million eggs. That's quite a number right? I think so too. Unlike sperm in men which is constantly produced throughout life, a woman is born with all the eggs she'd ever have. By puberty, these eggs drop to about 400-500,000 and on the average only about 500-1000 are ovulated (released for fertilization)during a woman's reproductive lifetime.
Now id like to point out that all over the world, older women have successfully birthed healthy babies & there doesn't seem to be a certain age at which it becomes suddenly dangerous to have a baby.
However studies have shown that women aged 35 and over may be at a higher risk of complications when compared to their younger counterparts.
This may be attributed to the fact that at about that age, there begins to be a drop in the quality and quantity of eggs. Sometimes these women may have anovulatory cycles meaning menstrual cycles where no eggs are released. As such there might be problems conceiving in the first place. For those who still ovulate & get pregnant successfully there have been higher records of miscarriages, genetic problems like downs syndrome, hypertension in pregnancy , difficult labours etc.
Now I'm sure all of these sounds scary but if you're 35 & over and planning to have a baby there are steps to take to increase your chances of having a healthy baby.
-Avoid alcohol and cigarettes
-Preconception health checks
-Early and regular antenatal care
In conclusion, remember that with pregnancy , nobody can perfectly predict or prevent anything regardless of the mother's age.
Dami Daniel is a Medical Doctor who considers herself a health missionary-educating people on health issues far and wide. Spunky & witty, there's always something up her sleeves including dodo, if she can help it. Twitter: @drdamidaniel