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Did you know that in the United States in 2012, 11% of first time mothers were age 35 or older and in 2014, 30% of first time mothers were 30 or older? Although antiquated insurance coding may deem those mothers as “Advanced Maternal Age” or “geriatric pregnancy,” the truth is that you can have a happy, healthy pregnancy at any age. Today we’re sharing encouragement for AMA mamas.
This topic comes up often in our private Facebook group, and we asked our mamas there if they were willing to share their encouragement and advice here on our blog. As we read through the thread, four themes started to emerge. We hope you find encouragement for AMA mamas in their stories below!
You can advocate for yourself
“I am 35 and just had my fourth baby in January. Even though I’d had three other kids, I was treated very differently during this pregnancy. I felt like I didn’t have as many choices. Luckily, I was confident in what I wanted and knew how to advocate for myself. I ended up having no complications and gave birth naturally at 41 weeks. I had to advocate for myself though, so knowledge is power!” – Elaine R
“As a 4th time mom-to-be I have learned that if something makes you go hmmm, don’t be afraid to push back. Ask why they feel it’s needed, whatever it is. Sometimes they don’t have a good answer; it’s just the way they’ve always done it. Don’t be afraid to research alternatives–sometimes your healthcare provider hasn’t thought of what you researched. Bottom line–don’t be afraid to ask why if you’re not sure. You won’t always be able to get your way, but at least you’ll know why.” – Kristen R.
“I had my second a week before I turned 36. My doctor’s office is super proactive during pregnancy, so lots of monitoring. I am also diabetic in pregnancy, so that plus AMA meant ultrasound every 4 weeks from 20 weeks on, and weekly non stress tests starting at 37 weeks. They wanted me to deliver by 39 weeks, but I pushed back because I didn’t want to be induced. The compromise was that they would let me go to 41wks with bi-weekly NST’s starting at 39wks. I was fine with this, because it allowed me to have the low/no intervention birth I wanted and she was born on her due date. It’s worth a discussion with your provider to find out what their protocols look like if they are any different, especially given your history.” – Stephanie N.
You can have a healthy pregnancy and baby with AMA
“I had my first at the age of 37 and hope to have another. Yes, there are risks, and we shouldn’t be naive, but stop calling me old, damnit! I had a doctor who I wanted to slap as she basically kept telling me I was too old to have kids. Don’t treat me like I’m old and the only ancient soul stupid enough to have a baby at my ‘advanced age.’ I went on to have a beautiful HEALTHY baby boy.” – Riel S.
“I was 36 when I got pregnant (37 when I had my baby) and had a completely healthy delivery with no meds! He was completely healthy! The literature, language, and, frankly, the attitude around it can be anxiety-provoking. But so many of us have positive 35+ birth stories. You got this!” G.S.
“I had my first at 37 and am pregnant with my second at 40. Other than basic genetic testing, I didn’t do anything special. Just tried to keep exercising and eating well and trusted that my body knows what to do. I honestly don’t think there’s much to worry about unless you have other health issues that might affect baby. All the numbers they show you look a lot scarier than they actually are because fewer women have babies over 35 than at a younger age.” – Jenni S.
You’re not alone
“I’m 36 this go-around, and I was happy to learn that my OB will be handling all my ‘high-risk’ testing and monitoring in-house (unless something comes up). Apparently the majority of her OB patients are 36-41! She told me, ‘It’s just a code. We don’t make the codes, but we’re glad to have them.’ – Lauren C.
“I just had my first at 37, and my doctor said I was one of her younger patients. Our little boy is a healthy and happy 3-month-old!” – Emily L.
“It took us about 4 months to conceive our first child, and I was 38 when she was born. My OB was fantastic and super chill; I didn’t have any extra tests and it was a natural birth. We tried for 7 months for our second child and I’m 7 weeks now (and will be 40 when baby is born; my hubs will be 43). It’s crazy how my anxiety has been much higher with this second one, simply because people say, “Oh wow, 40!” I basically tried to eat as nutritiously as I could and to exercise a few times a week, and prayed a lot.” Dana S.
“I had my first at 37, and am now 5 weeks preggers with my second at 39. My doc always apologized for having advanced maternal age on my medical form. She had to put it on there but wasn’t really concerned with my age. I exercised, ate well, and hope for the same this time around as well. We did the genetic testing and will do the same this time around as well. But otherwise I don’t think she did or recommended anything special because of my age.” – Jennifer P.
You’re not necessarily high risk
“I had a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby at age 40–no extra testing, no concerns. My doctor was very supportive and said he has moms deliver all of the time at 40+. We didn’t do increased doctor visits, and I didn’t have any extra restrictions.” – Amanda M.
“I realize that data says age is a risk factor, but…there are often co-risks. I’m not convinced age alone is a clear risk. My opinions have been primarily formed by my providers that refuse to discuss age as a factor in and of itself –“just because. (Side note: the only risk I feel for me has been extreme fatigue! I’d assume I’d have more energy and my body wouldn’t get so tired carrying around the weight if I was 15 years younger, haha!” – Lindsay S.
“I’m 39 and still considered a low risk pregnancy. I have delivered 3 babies with no interventions or drugs. Two of those were before 35, one after. I have found no real difference in pregnancies or deliveries. None were exactly alike, but none were more challenging or difficult than the other. My doctor told me not to worry about age. He said most women now are in their 30s having babies, and it typically isn’t considered a risk unless there are other factors.” – Kristen R.
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