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Healthy Pre-Pregnancy Weight Reduces Risks in First Time Older Moms

A new study suggests that maintaining a healthy weight before getting pregnant can modify increased risks of pregnancy over 40.

“If you are healthy, over 40, and not obese, your risks of pregnancy complications are certainly less than an obese 40-year-old,” said lead researcher John R. Barton, MD, director of maternal-fetal medicine at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. “And not that much different, other than a higher C-section rate, than a non-obese, younger woman.”

Though the numbers are still on the low side, more women over 40 are getting pregnant than ever before, according the CDC. This study, which looked at data from over 50,000 first time pregnant moms, obese women over 40 had significantly more complications than women over 40 at healthy weights — the complications included preterm birth, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia.

Still, older women, irrespective of weight, had more C-sections than younger women. Though older pregnant women can be freaked out but the stamp “advanced maternal age” on all their prenatal files, age alone is often less of a risk factor to pregnancy and birth than assumed. It’s harder to get pregnant over 35 or 40 but once pregnant other health factors can play a bigger role than age.  I think the conclusion of this study is pretty common sense but I’m always happy to chip away at the idea that a 40+ pregnancy is inherently “risky.”

Photo credit: DaquellManara/Flickr

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