Is it Safe to Have a Baby After Age 40?

By: Jessica Aspiras Email
By: Jessica Aspiras Email

Madonna had one at 41, Mariska Hargitay at age 42, Courtney Cox just days shy of her 40th birthday. And most recently 44 year old Marcia Cross announced that she's expecting two in April. Celebrities have been doing it for years. Now the trend is catching on, with an increasing number women over the age of 40 having babies.

"A lot of women are pursuing their own careers. They're in second families. They're finding out that maybe it's not as bad to be older when you have your children."

But celebrities in celebrities have millions of dollars to spend on the best prenatal care, money the average woman doesn't. So how wise is it to have a baby in your 40's?

"There's high blood pressure. There's problems with diabetes. These things, if a person is fit, if they're at their ideal body weight, if they exercise, those things are really minimally increased."

The Centers for Disease Control reports about 112,000 women over age 40 giving birth in 2005. While the chances of having a child with birth defects increases with age,Dr. Steven Roth of Sparrow Hospital's Perintal Center says the odds are slim.

"People think there's a very high increase in the risk of Down Syndrome. And while it goes up still when you're 40, the risk is only about two or three percent."

Still that doesn't mean getting pregnant after 40 is highly recommended.

"As a parent I know it's really a bad thing to get pregnant when you're too old and set in your ways. But as far as a health point of view, I think your making your decisions based on what your health is."


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