Can pregnancy after 30 have health benefits?
Women choosing to have children later in life may face a number of health risks, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Older moms may experience miscarriage, gestational diabetes and high blood pressure, among other problems. Some may have trouble even getting pregnant.
But a recent study suggests there may be some surprising health benefits for moms over 30.
Researchers at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine say women who bear children in their 30s and 40s are at lower risk for developing cancer of the uterus. The authors compared nearly 9,000 cases of women with endometrial cancer to 16,500 women who did not have the cancer. They found the risk of getting the disease declined with age.
Women over 40 who gave birth were 44 percent less likely to develop the cancer than women giving birth in their mid-20s, the study found.
“Women need to evaluate the risks and benefits carefully and should consult with their doctors before making the decision,” Dr. Sodini says. “Though it seems this new study has some positive news for older moms, those factors need to be weighed against all the potential risks.”
Despite the risks, the number of older moms is on the rise. The Pew Research Center says there’s been a dramatic shift in the last 20 years. In 1990, teen moms accounted for the biggest share of all births at 13 percent. Women ages 35 and older accounted for 9 percent of births overall. By 2008, the trend was reversed. Ten percent of births were to teens, compared with 14 percent to women ages 35 and older.
Dr. Sodini echoed that point. “It’s essential for older moms to maintain a healthy diet, have a reasonable exercise regimen and avoid smoking and alcohol,” Sodini said. “Having children later in life does present some risks, but proper prenatal care can reduce the chances of having problems.”
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