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Pregnant at 35 & Worried
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Our Pregnancy Support Forum is for women 35 years and older. This is where you can communicate with other women who share your interest in pregnancy and childbirth issues. This forum is not monitored by medical professionals.

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Pregnant at 35 & Worried

Hi,

I am 35 and pregnant.  I have been having a hard time getting past the fact that I am automatically considered high risk and honestly freaked out when told all the percentages of increased birth defects etc.

I had 2 children in my late 20's and just had no idea how the odds are stacked against us 35+.

I guess my question is....how have you all come to grips with this data? I am trying to relax, but can't seem to stay calm.

I haven't had any genetic  tests done yet.

Thanks for letting me vent. :)
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25 Comments Post a Comment
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982214_tn?1407809791
I was 35 when I got pregnant with my baby ( I am now 36 and my baby is 17 weeks old) I never once thought of any of that! My results from my nt scan were better then a girl in her 20's... There is no reason to worry, congrats and good luck :)
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi I just see being 35 and older being more educated about your body. To me someone 35 takes care of ther body a little somewhat better that a 20 year old. I had a baby in my 20's as well. I think I got more lip form family about being 35 and pregnant then the doctor. I just pray and keep going. At the end of the day its my life, God will protect us, 20 or 40. All your tests will come out great!

CongratsThink positive dont let those negative thoughts get the best of you.
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1806883_tn?1407811249
dont let them rail-road you into believing that your high risk, sure you should look after yourself while being pregnant but every pregnant women should. Yes you are at a slightly higher risk of their being some abnormalities with bub, but at 35 the chances are still quite low,  I have had 4 children since I hit 37, the last one in may and I'mm 44. I have had no problems with either my pregnancies, births or babys birth weight. I did have 2 miscarriages inbetween my 3rd and 4th but that would be due to egg age. Be positive, my n/t scan was 1/800 this time and with my 3yr old it was 1/600 so it actually got better :)
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377493_tn?1356505749
Congrats on your pregnancy!  And no, you are not considered high risk.  What they do offer once we hit 35 is more testing if you want it.  However, it is still highly unlikely there will be any problems.  You are just on the cusp of what is considered "advanced maternal age".

I had a healthy baby boy just before I turned 41.  There are lots of us here who did the same thing.  How did I deal with the stats?  I put them into perspective.  For example, they told me that based on age alone I had a 1:100 chance of having a baby with downs syndrome.  Well, that is 1%.  I felt pretty good about that.  If you really look at what the numbers mean, you will find that really, your odds of something going wrong just aren't that high.  It's just not a big deal anymore to do this..there are lots of us out there.  And if anyone gives you any flack about it...send them to this forum, and we'll set them straight!!  Seriously, enjoy this pregnancy.  For me, having a baby when I did was a wonderful decision and I don't regret it for a second!  As for the stats...they are just that, stats.  I have been on this forum for 4 years now, and I know 1 women over 35 who had a baby with downs syndrome.  Every time we choose pregnancy, we roll the dice a little bit.  You will be offered additional screening to ensure all is well.  I kinda think that's a bonus.  We get to see our little one's more often!  Congrats again, and don't worry.  Chances are better that all will be fine then that it won't.  
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Avatar_f_tn
hi Adgal, did you make amniocentesis?
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938718_tn?1323787114
Congratulations!  I had my first when I was 41.  The NT scan and screening results were good so they told me I didn't need an amnio unless I really wanted it.  I declined and delivered a healthy baby boy.  I am now 43 and almost 12 weeks pregnant.  My NT scan is on Thursday.  I declined the CVS as the only purpose I saw would be to abort the fetus should there be an abnormality.  We're keeping this baby no matter what.  Obviously my chances of having a baby with DS are much higher than others.  

The way I dealt with all of the stress around "advanced maternal age" in my first pregnancy was to ignore the statistics and stop searching the Internet looking for answers (which were always negative).  Instead, I went on the Medhelp community forum for women having babies the same month (where I met adgal) where the support was very positive and enjoyed every moment of my pregnancy.  

With respect to this pregnancy, it's a bit harder because I'm so much older.  The way I look at it, there are no guarantees in life so I can either get stressed out at what might happen or love the baby within for whomever they might be and deal with whatever issues if/when they arise.  Life is too short to create stress where there may not be need for any.

Best of luck.
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377493_tn?1356505749
Yes I did opt for amnio.  When I had my first trimester screen my odds of ds were 1:13.  I don't think I would have terminated...I went through an awful lot to carry a full term baby, but I did need to know for absolute certain.  I tend to be a worrier, and for me, knowledge is power.  So yes, I did do amnio.  If anyone has any questions on my experience with the procedure, I'm happy to answer them.

I am trying to have another child now.  I will be 43 in January.  Honestly, my only concern is the one Jo raised, just that it might be a bit tougher...more tired, etc.  But the rest...I just don't worry about it anymore.  I would do amnio again if the initial results warranted it, but again, for me that is mainly because I am that person who has to know.  
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938718_tn?1323787114
FYI, CVS is different than the amnio.

Here's what I found on http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00038393.htm:  

CVS utilizes either a catheter or needle to biopsy placental cells that are derived from the same fertilized egg as the fetus. During amniocentesis, a small sample of the fluid that surrounds the fetus is removed. This fluid contains cells that are shed primarily from the fetal skin, bladder, gastrointestinal tract, and amnion.

Typically, CVS is done at 10-12 weeks' gestation, and amniocentesis is done at 15-18 weeks' gestation. In the United States, the current standard of care in obstetrical practice is to offer either CVS or amniocentesis to women who will be greater than or equal to 35 years of age when they give birth, because these women are at increased risk for giving birth to infants with Down syndrome and certain other types of aneuploidy. Karyotyping of cells obtained by either amniocentesis or CVS is the standard and definitive means of diagnosing aneuploidy in fetuses. The risk that a woman will give birth to an infant with Down syndrome increases with age. For example, for women 35 years of age, the risk is 1 per 385 births (0.3%), whereas for women 45 years of age, the risk is 1 per 30 births (3%) (1). The background risk for major birth defects (with or without chromosomal abnormalities) for women of all ages is approximately 3%.

I find that last statement really interesting.

Anyhow, while I've refused CVS, if my NT scan comes back with a relatively high probability of DS, I will probably do the amnio (with support from Amanda!).  I won't be making that decision until I hear the news from the doctor and while I'll discuss it with my husband, I'll make the final decision.
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377493_tn?1356505749
In addition to Jo's comments, CVS also does carry a slightly higher risk of complications then amnio does.  If I am remembering correctly, cvs has a 1:100 rate of complications while amnio is 1:400.  Personally, I would opt for amnio over cvs if it comes to that again.  Also, I think the key is ensuring you are working with a very experienced Dr.  The Dr. that did my amnio had literally done thousands of them.  He was a perinatologist, and highly highly experienced.  That was really important to me, so if anyone is opting for invasive testing, make sure you do your homework.
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1806883_tn?1407811249
I've had an amnio done, and if my risks were high for d/s I would go for the cvs, even tho there is a higher risk of miscarriage, I think it also depends on what you would do with the results if you found that your baby had d/s. I think if you decided that you were able to keep your baby, then amnio would be the way to go, if not then cvs, cause delivering your baby at 20+wks is the worst thing ever to have to go through :(
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1806883_tn?1407811249
I always have the n/s done first though
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1755745_tn?1313370731
I know how you feel...I am now 39 and am 14 1/2 weeks along. I've gotten the scary speeches from everyone about my "high risk pregnancy" and "advanced maternal age." I never felt old until I started going through this process. In fact, on my u/s printouts, in the top right corner it always says, "Pregnancy Type: Difficult" just so I won't forget my fate.

In the beginning especially, I spent an inordinate amount of time scavaging websites and stalking forums and just about made myself nuts reading all the horror stories. I finally stopped because I realized I was obsessively comparing other people's NT fold measurements against my own like a crazy person. What good does that do? Like others have said, the chances of anything being wrong are more rare than it sounds. I now stick to more positive forums like this one...that has helped me quite a bit to deal with the anxiety that I think can go along with any pregnancy, maybe even more so when it's your first. I also stay away from those shows on TLC about delivering babies now. They almost always focus on "difficult" deliveries. I'm terrified enough about that whole process as it is....
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377493_tn?1356505749
Jennie, I'm glad you find this forum as positive a place as I do.  And to reassure you a bit...I had what is considered a difficult delivery.  And it still was not bad at all.  In fact, I was so focused on the fact that I was about to meet this long awaited child, that I wasn't thinking all that much about anything else.  And he is here, healthy and I too am just fine.  So even difficult deliveries work out fine.  We are so lucky...we live in a day and age where we have such excellent medical care and excellent monitoring that rarely do things go really wrong.  You'll breeze through it, you'll see.

I truly am not certain why so many in the medical community continue to insist that there are so many challenges with us older moms having kids.  For me, the benefits have far outweighed any risk, and like most women my age who have had babies, I have a healthy and completely typical child.  I can tell you from my years on this board, that is usually the way things turn out around here.

And, if it's any consolation...you are young ones in this forum..lol.  Relax, kick up your heels and enjoy this experience.  It's too wonderful a thing to let someone else wreck it for you!
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1755745_tn?1313370731
Thanks, adgal. I'll take all the reassuring advice I can get. I've often thought that if I could just convince some doctor to completely knock me out and somehow make it so the baby magically appears on the outside, I would gladly take out a second mortgage on my house to make it happen. Unsolicited advice from my sister in law and co-workers also tends to stress me out (i.e. "make sure you tell them to cut you--if you tear, the pain will be so much worse" or "ooooo you have a tilted uterus? Get ready to deal with incontinence indefinitely.") Stuff like that.

BUT, I just keep telling myself that if childbirth were as bad as I have convinced myself that it is, then no one would ever want or have more than one, right?

I do agree, though, that forums like this help slightly neurotic people like myself to chill out a bit and remember to try and enjoy the experience since this will definitely be the one and only time I'm ever able to do this.
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377493_tn?1356505749
Oh, I just love people like that.  So sweet of them to share.  I had a few people like that in my life and learned to just smile, thank them, then tune them out (it was either that or beat them silly, and thought an assault charge may not be the best thing for me).  And you are so right...if it was that bad, why would so many keep having them.  I mean, they aren't stupid or into self torture I assume.  I was chatting with a very pregnant women in the grocery store the other day. It was her first, and she was absolutely terrified due to awful stories people told her.  I don't know why they do that...it honest to God isn't that bad.  I had contractions for 2 weeks, and it still wasn't that bad.  The most fun I've ever had?  Probably not, but worth every single second.  And the moment I saw my babies little face for the first time?  They could have been sawing off both my legs with no pain meds and I wouldn't have cared.  Just let me hold him.  

And don't think your neurotic.  We all go through this.  Pregnancy is a scary thing really.  I mean, no matter what our ages, we all hear the things that can go wrong.  But again, fortunately, they rarely do.  
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Avatar_f_tn
hi, thx for your answer. How long after amnio does risk of miscariage still egzist? Someone think only a few days and others are talking about a whole month:-(.
Sorry if my English is bad:-)
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Avatar_f_tn
hi, thx for your answer. How long after amnio does risk of miscariage still egzist? Someone think only a few days and others are talking about a whole month:-(.
Sorry if my English is bad:-)
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377493_tn?1356505749
After having the procedure, they tell you to take it easy for about 24 hours. That being said, if you miscarry within the month after having an amnio,  they typically will attribute it to a complication with the amnio.  Personally, I laid around and took it easy for 3 days.  It was a wonderful excuse to laze in bed and allow dh to wait on me hand and foot...lol.

If you are thinking about amnio, there are a couple of things to ask yourself.

1. Why do you want the info.  This doesn't really have anything to do with whether or not you will terminate.  Some would, and some wouldn't regardless.  I wouldn't have terminated, but did want to know.  I needed to be prepared and to educate myself on ds.  That was super important to me.

2. How experienced is the Dr. performing the procedure.  I can tell you, I interviewed him.  I truly did.  I wanted to know how long he had been doing it, and what his stats in terms of complications were.  I felt very confident, otherwise I would have gone elsewhere.

For me, it was not a bad experience at all.  No pain, just a bit of an uncomfortable feeling.  I would opt to do it again if the first trimester stats warranted it.  My risk factor after first trimester screen was 1:13, so for me, the benefit outweighed the risk.

Hope that helps.
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377493_tn?1356505749
I really should add here...

Regardless of how skilled or experienced the Dr. is, there is no question that any invasive testing such as CVS or Amnio comes with an element of risk.  So this is not a decision that should ever be made lightly, or on the advice of someone else.  Yes, my experience turned out fine, but sometimes things do go wrong.  So please make sure that if you do decide to proceed that you have done your own homework and discussed this with your Dr.  It is a big decision, and a very very personal one.
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1194973_tn?1385507504
You really had people who said those things? Hmm....well in my case, I myself have a tilted uterus, never had incontinence issues. I also tore naturally (twice) and was fully healed in 2 weeks. Episiotomy often leads to longer healing and more pain because the cut is worse than tearing can be and can be much larger. Yes I am younger (I was 20 when I gave birth) but EVERY PERSON is different in how their body handles things. Don't let people scare you. There will always be horror stories no matter who you talk to or what situation you deal with and people will always focus on the bad before they focus on the good. Good luck with your pregnancy!!!
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1755745_tn?1313370731
Thanks for the reassurance, Clysta. Yeah, people have really said those things (and more). It's hard not to freak out. It's nice to know from others that things are really not THAT bad...and I think you are right....it's much more "interesting" to want to tell others about the potentially bad stuff than the good. I just try and stay away from Dr. Google for the most part now.  
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Avatar_m_tn
I was 37 for my first pregnancy (I turned 38 the day before I delivered) and was shocked and dismayed to find myself labeled an "elderly prima gravida" on my medical files.  I was tagged high risk and subjected to so many unnecessary tests, scans, and procedures - all of which kept me in a constant state of stress and panic - that I vowed I'd never go through all that again.  I'm now 43 and just found out yesterday that I'm pregnant again - I'll be 44 when I deliver - and this time I'm going to refuse the unnecessary testing and just accept the essentials.  I don't need the stress this time around!  I've accepted that the risks are greater at my age, but there's nothing that can be done about it, no matter how many tests and scans they put you through...so this time we're just going in with a "wait and see" attitude.  Whatever happens, happens.  And I too have stopped researching on the web - it will do nothing but scare the pants off you, and who needs that when you're already in the most stressful situation of your life?
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Avatar_m_tn
hello, i totally undertasnd you. i just had a baby boy two years ago and was shocked to find out that because i was 38 my baby could be born with birth defects and even more shocked to find out that the younger you are the more at risk your baby is for having birth defects. my son was born nice and healthy and is doing wonderful actually doing better than babies by 25 yr old women, so dont let that scare or stress you out you and your baby will be fine as long as you take care of yourself..
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Avatar_f_tn
My friend was 22 when she gave birth to ds little child who is a pure pleasure to be around age is a number we are all individuals is how we look after our body's good luck to thouse like me 35 plus having our children xxx
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Avatar_f_tn
You know what?  My uterus tilted with my first son and I've had three since and am pregnant with #5 and I've never had a problem with incontinance.  Besides, there are so many methods and remedies out there now for incontinance, while it does suck, it's not always such a bad thing.  Congrats on baby!!
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