What are the advantages and disadvantages of being an older mother?

The benefits to pregnancy after age 35 include:

  • thought-through pregnancies where mothers are in stable relationships
  • more health conscious
  • plan to contribute positively to society through example and the birth of their child
  • inspiration for research and new treatments
  • contribution to education and social capital
  • example of respect for diversity and differences

Although risks in pregnancy are higher over age 35, more babies born to these mother are healthy and normal. Expectant mothers aged over 35 are usually more confident and emotionally developed to cope.

Higher amounts of educated women over age 35 giving birth means that they are making a positive contribution to society and the economy on a number of levels through their delayed pregnancy and the birth of their child – education, innovation, health, financial, and as social or human capital. Women aged 35 plus usually have more knowledge and experience about raising a child that translates to better parenting skills to educate their child to adjust well into society.

Women wanting to postpone motherhood or have fallen pregnant at a later stage in life have inspired studies in the subject, and more research has resulted in innovative medical procedures, maternity techniques, technologies and treatments. In vitro fertilisation treatment and discoveries in genetics are examples.

Other benefits include respect for diversity and age when either older or same sex couples aged over 35 want to conceive and raise a healthy child that goes on to demonstrate respect for differences among people.

The disadvantages

Besides the media hyped health risks, the disadvantages can depend on the circumstances such as:

  • unexpected pregnancy
  • older health
  • lost independence
  • community-support

Unexpected pregnancy

For example, an older woman may also fall pregnant unexpectedly similar to younger women, or when in menopause which is usually considered an unlikely time to conceive. As with younger expectant mothers that this happens to, these women over the age of 35 may also not be financially prepared or in a stable relationship.

Older health

With age, women can also deteriorate health-wise faster or be diagnosed later with a life-threatening disease like cancer. In such cases, if the older mother passes away sooner, the child may need to be fostered or reared by either the father or family member. The trauma of the mother's death can impact the child, father and family.

Lost independence

Some critics argue that a younger mother has more energy to raise her baby, and is more psychological prepared to lose independence in career than an women aged 35 and over who has been dedicated to her career. However, with increases in overweight and obese youth, this can be disputed where older expectant mothers have generally prepared themselves physically and healthily for the pregnancy and birth. Stopping the career for pregnancy is a thought-through choice made by many women over age 35 who prepare themselves psychologically and emotionally for the birth and upbringing of their child.

Community support

Other critics point out that older mothers, due to delaying pregnancy for career paths, have separated themselves from community and in some cases family, and that this separation can impact their health during pregnancy and birth. However, although there is truth to this, many working women keep close contact with their families using technology and engage in online communities no less than their younger counterparts. In many cases, they bond back into community in a more educational way and are more prepared for doing so due to stronger developed networking and social skills. Local maternity classes and pregnancy groups soon fill the gap.

Having a baby after 35:

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