Meghan Markle’s pregnancy sparks conversations around “advanced maternal age”

Meghan Markle’s pregnancy sparks conversations around “advanced maternal age”

Earlier this week, Royal Family followers were surprised with the news of Meghan Markle’s pregnancy.

The 37-year-old Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry announced Monday they are expecting their first child. Countless news articles broke covering the news, many using the term “geriatric pregnancy”. But what exactly does that mean?

“With women who are 35 years of age and over, we use the term ‘Advanced Maternal Age’ (AMA) rather than geriatric,” says Dr. Tiffany Wilson, an OB/GYN at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill.

Dr. Wilson says in addition to routine prenatal care visits, patients who are AMA also undergo additional testing.

“These women go through antepartum testing during the last four to six weeks of their pregnancy. This is a type of evaluation that consists of fetal heart monitoring and may also include an ultrasound to document various movements by the fetus as well as a measurement of the amniotic fluid,” she explains.

Along with additional testing among these women, advanced maternal age carries greater risks. “These include increased risk of stillbirth, intrauterine fetal death, hypertension, diabetes and chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome,” says Dr. Wilson.

Despite this, having children later in life is a growing trend in the U.S.

According to September 2017 data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, birth rates declined among women under 30 years of age in 2016, while it rose for those aged 30-44. Dr. Wilson experiences this among her patients.

“Over the last several years, more women are either delaying pregnancy until later or are continuing to have children well into their 30s,” she says.

Whenever you are ready to start thinking about having a baby, consider this – More moms trust us to deliver their babies than any other hospital in Illinois. At Advocate, you’ll discover a warm and nurturing environment with a compassionate team you won’t find anywhere else. Choose the right OB/GYN for you and the perfect pediatrician for your newborn, and experience the highest level of personalized care before, during and after your child’s arrival.

To find an OB/GYN near you, click here.

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  1. I think delaying having children is a commentary to the current economic and social climate. Young adults are less able to achieve financial stability until later in life and social expectations of many baby boomers are that if you cannot afford children than don’t have them. However, we we must look at the last decades’ trends of wealth consolidating in upper 1%. The rich get richer. This is unsustainable. Something needs to change. Many women, myself included delay having children for financial and childcare needs, long after I decided I wanted them mentally and emotionally. We as a society need to examine our priorities as a country to put checks on balances on those with financial advantages and importance on family work balances

  2. I had my 2 children at the age of 36 and 38. We held off having children earlier due to volunteer commitments, but I did have gestational diabetes with my 2nd one and later developed Type II diabetes in my 50’s. However, we raised a great son and daughter and we are all still very close today. I didn’t have any other complications during pregnancy and had regular births, one weighing 7lbs.11oz and one 7lbs.13oz.

  3. Please. We had our children starting when I was 26. I quit my job, we more than halved our income. We weren’t afraid to sacrifice and live on way less to have children. It was hard but we ended up just fine even though it took many years to finally feel comfortable.

  4. IT should NOT be necessary to live on much less in order to have kids Not that long ago..wages were such that a family could live on one income without sacrifice of basic needs .
    Labor Unions are almost gone, wages have NOT kept up, everything is very expensive… medical care, utilities, food, furniture, housing, etc. Norms are way out of whack. Something must be done to make families able to make a living wage…Right wing Politicians have done much to make that NOT happen since Reagan’s deregulating & trickle down…which did NOT trickle Bush 1 & 2, Trump have followed the same Pattern .

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About the Author

Holly Brenza
Holly Brenza

Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator on the content team at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.