In our society today, it is very common to consider starting or adding to your family in your late 30’s or early 40’s. While this is becoming increasingly normal, there are important health considerations to make if you are a woman over 40. It is a fact of life that in a slightly older human body, we have all had more time to develop health issues, and we will have experienced more wear and tear. While this is all a normal aspect of being human, it does complicate things for a potential new baby, as pregnancy and childbirth is a physically stressful time for both a mother and a baby.
Potential Complications of Pregnancy
If you are entering motherhood slightly older than the average mom, your chances of experiencing the following complications are not a foregone conclusion, but they are higher:
- The chances of multiple pregnancy are higher if you are an older mother. Naturally, there are more health risks for babies part of a multiple pregnancy, especially if the mother is older.
- Gestational diabetes is more likely in older mothers. This type of diabetes only occurs during pregnancy, but it can lead to premature delivery or a high birth weight baby (which can cause problems for both mother and baby at the time of delivery).
- The risk of low birth weight and premature delivery is higher for older mothers. Both situations can lead to complicated medical problems for a baby, some of which can last well into childhood or adulthood, depending on severity.
- Unfortunately, the chances of chromosomal (genetic) abnormalities are higher if a woman conceives a child when she is older.
- It's not just women. More studies are revealing a fathers’ age at the time of conception plays a role in the lifelong health of babies. Older fathers may need to consider the potential benefits a service such as cord blood blanking would offer his growing family.
- Diabetes (increased risk of preeclampsia, early delivery, C-section birth, jaundice and breathing problems for the baby)
- High Blood Pressure or Hypertension (increased risk of premature delivery, preeclampsia and placental abruption)
- Anaemia (increased risk of fatigue and poor nutritional status in the baby)
- Obesity (increased risk of diabetes, C-section, stillbirth and preeclampsia)
- Infections (many maternal infections in pregnancy can be passed on to the baby and cause potentially severe complications)
Factors That May Increase the Risk of Pregnancy
In addition, if you are a woman younger than 40 looking at starting or growing your family, many factors come into play (for both you and your baby) if you have any of the following health conditions, regardless of your age:
Cord Blood Banking as a Preventative Measure
While many of the above situations can sound daunting and very scary, many are prevented if you follow a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, avoid smoking and alcohol and limit stress. In some circumstances, the above situations can simply not be avoided. This is where current stem cell technologies and the potential offered by cord blood banking comes into play. Our parents and grandparents generations did not have the option to store cord blood and preserve their baby’s stem cells for their disease fighting potential. Today, this is an option that all parents of a new baby have.
Americord is a cord blood bank based in the United States. Presently, they are the only cord blood banking service in the USA authorized to carry out genome sequencing for new born babies at birth. This is completely non-invasive and pain free for babies, as the sample is collected from their umbilical cord immediately following birth. Preserving your baby’s stem cells at birth allows you to keep their disease fighting stem cells should they ever need them in their future. We know that stem cells treat and manage a number of life threatening and life-limiting conditions. It is only a matter of time before more conditions will be proven to respond to stem cell therapies, in fact the number of conditions known to benefit from stem cell therapies grows every year.
Many women delay pregnancy until their late 30’s or beyond and deliver healthy babies. However, taking advantage of the extra care and extra services offered by cord blood banking helps to provide your baby with a strong and healthy start to life.