Who are you calling, "Advanced Maternal Age?"

So. I got a news flash recently. Apparently, because I am 35, I have been classified as being at an, "Advanced Maternal Age." My friends, I feel like that is the meanest, most nasty hateful name I have EVER been called.  It hurt.  It still hurts.  It's also scary as hell to think that now that I am 35-years-old, I am somehow damaged goods when it comes to trying to have children.  So. Not. Cool.

If you are just now hearing the term advanced maternal age (AMA) for the first time, here are the specifics according to the *mayoclinic.com: (I did quite a bit of research, and found the most concise list to share on the blog--without listing 10 different sites--is the following Mayo Clinic list.)

  • It might take longer to get pregnant. You're born with a limited number of eggs. As you reach your early 30s, your eggs might decline in quality — and you might ovulate less frequently, even if you're still having regular periods. An older woman's eggs also aren't fertilized as easily as a younger woman's eggs. Does this mean you can't get pregnant? Of course not. It might simply take longer. If you're older than 35 and haven't been able to conceive for six months, consider asking your health care provider for advice.
  • You're more likely to have a multiple pregnancy. The chance of having twins increases with age. The use of assisted reproductive technologies — such as in vitro fertilization — also can play a role. Since these procedures typically enhance ovulation, they're more likely to result in twins or other multiples.
  • You're more likely to develop gestational diabetes. This type of diabetes occurs only during pregnancy, and it's more common as women get older. Tight control of blood sugar through diet, physical activity and other lifestyle measures is essential. Sometimes medication is needed as well. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause a baby to grow too large — which increases the risk of injuries during delivery.
  • You're more likely to develop high blood pressure during pregnancy. Some studies suggest that high blood pressure that develops during pregnancy — before 20 weeks (chronic hypertension), after 20 weeks (gestational hypertension) or after 20 weeks and accompanied by protein in the urine (preeclampsia) — might be more common in older women. Your health care provider will carefully monitor your blood pressure and your baby's growth and development. You might need to take medication or deliver your baby before your due date to avoid complications.
  • You might need a C-section. Older mothers have a higher risk of pregnancy-related complications that might lead to a C-section delivery, such as placenta previa — a condition in which the placenta blocks the cervix. Labor problems tend to be more common in first-time mothers older than 35.
  • The risk of chromosome abnormalities is higher. Babies born to older mothers have a higher risk of certain chromosome problems, such as Down syndrome.
  • The risk of miscarriage is higher. The risk of miscarriage also increases as you get older, perhaps due to the higher likelihood of chromosomal abnormalities.

  • Dads, if you are reading this, bad news... women are not the only ones being called out for having babies later in life, also according to the Mayo Clinic...

    "Men might experience a decline in fertility starting in their late 30s. Some research suggests that children born to men 40 and older have a higher risk of autism than do children of men younger than 30. A 2010 study also suggests an increased risk of autism in children born to a couple in which the father is older than 40 and the mother is younger than 30. Further research is needed, however. Men older than 50 are more likely to have babies with certain birth defects, such as the bone growth disorder achondroplasia, due to age-related genetic mutations. The risk of cognitive impairment also might be higher for children of older fathers. In a 2009 study, children born to older men scored slightly lower on tests measuring concentration, memory, reading and reasoning skills through age 7."

    ARG!!!!  I just want to scream ASSHOLES, and have my memory erased, so I can forget this evil information.

    I'm terrified this list is going to apply 100% to me (35yrs) and FTD (40yrs)  Which is so wrong!  Should we not have children because of this?  Should we be taking this as a warning?  Because we are.  You all, I really want to give Ollie a sibling.  And now that I have hit the ripe age of 35, I am scared that I have waited too long, and will put myself and my unborn child at risk.  Feeling like this sucks. In my heart if feels wrong and wasteful to let this AMA classification bother me.

    But, I cannot help it...

    I am scared. Very scared.  

    I try to remind myself that I was scared when I got pregnant with Ollie; well before AMA was an issue.  Honestly, there are so many unknowns with pregnancy, it's scary no matter the age. This information has just managed to double the fear for me.  Which, sucks. Should I rush into pregnancy, before I get any older? 

    Truth be told, FTD and I are FAR from ready to have a second child. We are in the process of moving, rebuilding our finical status and have our hands full with one child! I'm just not sure we should be pushed into having a second child. That almost seems more risky than the risks associated with AMA! 

    My sister had her first at 36 and second at 38. Both of her boys are beautiful, articulate and brilliant. And really, is there an age for having children that does not have risks associated with it? All I am hearing is that, "Advanced Maternal Age" really means, shit or get off the pot... The longer you wait the harder it is to get knocked up, and the risks do increase, but NOTHING is definitive! My sister and her healthy happy boys are proof of that.

    If I said that I was going to put this nasty AMA issue out of my thoughts, let God work out the timing, and live my life, it would be a lie.  Since hearing that the age cutoff for AMA was 35, I have not stopped thinking about it. I really thought I would have until I was 38 to make the final decision over having a second baby. Just like my sister. My only concern is that, the mounting risks, thanks to being at an advanced maternal age, will send me into a tailspin of fear and desperation? Ugh. I certainly hope not...

    What are your thoughts?  Did you have a baby after the age of 35?  Are you in the same boat as me--35+ and want another child, just not now?  

    * To read more on AMA from the MAYO clinic, CLICK HERE

    April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com