Geriatric or late pregnancy: age, risks and follow-up

Becoming a mother after 35 is a norm for many women and a reflection of an evolving society. We all know someone who had their baby in their forties: a friend, a sister, our own mother, or ourselves. These are simply the modern contours of motherhood. However, we still speak of “geriatric pregnancy” to describe this situation. But what does that mean, exactly? And why does this term generate so much discussion today? In this article, we demystify this somewhat strange concept and offer you insight into the realities and perspectives of these “late motherhoods”.

What is geriatric or late-term pregnancy?

At what age do we speak of late pregnancy?

According to Cairn , late pregnancies are considered as such when pregnant women exceed the age of 35 (rather 40, in current discourse). Surprising, isn't it? However, this situation remains extremely common today. Medicine is progressing, society is changing, and women are increasingly choosing to “postpone” the conception of their first children. They are often motivated by:

  • professional reasons;
  • the desire to flourish in their career;
  • the wish not to rush.

Sometimes, it is also a result of medically assisted procreation (MAP) processes.

Why is the term “geriatric pregnancy” debated today?

The term “geriatric pregnancy” is increasingly considered obsolete. You have understood: a pregnant woman over 35 years old, today, is an extremely commonplace thing. However, this outdated vocabulary is still used; and it evokes a rather negative connotation. Geriatrics is the medicine of old age and its illnesses. And not the reality of this future mother, sometimes called a geriatric mother, who chooses to become one at a more mature age or who experiences the ups and downs of life (difficulties conceiving, personal difficulties, etc.). This term is therefore debated, because it underlines two important points:

  • We must recognize the individual choices available to the mother-to-be in our society.
  • We must advocate for language that adapts to the times and medical advances.

At Boome, we therefore prefer to talk about late pregnancy rather than geriatric pregnancy.

What are the risks associated with late pregnancy?

Although pregnancy, even at an “advanced” age (yes, we use quotes!), is a joyful experience for many women, it can also carry certain risks.

Risks of miscarriage

The risk of miscarriage increases with age, as female fertility declines. According to research, including that carried out by the CHU Sainte-Justine , we observe 15 to 20% additional risks in expectant mothers over 35 years old. And 40% among those over 43 years old.

Sometimes higher rate of anomaly

This increased risk of miscarriage often does not come alone: ​​it is also accompanied by an increase in chromosomal abnormalities. We go from 1 in 475 at 25 years old, to 1 in 30 at 43 years old.

We also observe a rate of congenital heart defects 3 to 4 times higher in women aged 40 and over.

Complications during pregnancy

Certain pregnancy problems can also occur in expectant mothers such as:

  • gestational diabetes;
  • high blood pressure (or other risk of hypertension);
  • pre-eclampsia.

Which can complicate the baby's arrival and lead to:

  • premature birth;
  • a cesarean section;
  • low birth weight.

But rest assured: thanks to advances in medicine, and careful prenatal monitoring, these risks are better understood, and therefore much better taken into account today.


How to facilitate a late pregnancy?

Yes, a spontaneous pregnancy over 35 is entirely possible (and still happy!). Is this your wish? We give you some advice to boost your chances of getting there.

How to boost your fertility to get pregnant after 35

Strengthening your fertility after the age of 35 starts with adopting a healthy lifestyle. You can therefore:

  • Put foods rich in antioxidants on your plate, such as fruits and vegetables: they can improve the quality of your eggs.
  • Obtain food supplements for fertility , or folic acid in pharmacies. Most women don't know what vitamin B9 is for ; However, it is essential for the good development of the baby during the first months of pregnancy. You can also take our pregnancy vitamins which replace the famous B9 and cover all recommended intakes.
  • Practice physical activity! Because yes, unfortunately, weight has an impact on fertility. Be careful, however, to avoid training that is too intense, which could have the opposite effect.
  • Try to reduce your stress, since it can affect ovulation and make it more difficult to conceive. We therefore advise you to practice activities that relax you, such as yoga or meditation.

Of course, if your baby is late in coming and your desire to become pregnant is too much for you, do not hesitate to discuss it with the medical profession. You may be referred to appropriate fertility treatments (such as in vitro fertilization or hormonal treatments to stimulate ovulation).

This article may also interest you: Until what age is a man fertile ?

Medically recommended follow-up for late pregnancy

Late pregnancies require careful medical monitoring to ensure the health of the pregnant woman and the baby. This involves regular consultations with a gynecologist or specialist midwife. They will closely monitor the development of the pregnancy and quickly identify any signs of potential complications.

Prenatal screening also remains important to monitor the health of the fetus and detect possible chromosomal or congenital anomalies. It's just a few ultrasounds and blood tests, so don't miss out! This will allow you to have a more peaceful pregnancy.

Please note that some pregnant women are encouraged to carry out more extensive screening tests, such as amniocentesis. However, the decision to proceed is based entirely on the personal circumstances of each of them, and on their individual choice.

Certainly, geriatric pregnancies or late pregnancies carry some additional risks compared to a classic plan. However, if your biological clock strikes later in life, remember: you are not alone in this adventure. So listen to yourself, be the pregnant woman you want to be, whatever your age. And we promise, everything will go well!

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