The news of international music super star, Janet Jackson on having a baby at 50 excited the world to no end.
As starting a family a little later in life could be dicey. This is due to the increased complications and management.
Over the years, cases of women who gave birth close to 50 years of age and above have been reported. The odds associated with giving birth at this age bracket comes with higher risks. To manage these complications, adjustments are made for the obstetrics to ensure safe birth and health of both the mother and baby.
Statistics prove that pregnancy risks associated with increased age particularly over the age of 45, 50 multiply. Unfortunately, complications such as stillbirth is double while premature birth, low birth weight, chromosomal abnormality leading to disability are much more higher. This could, however, be well managed with the use of technology and intensive care of the mother and child.
ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with Doctor Ayoola as she shed more light on the possibilities of getting pregnant at 50 and giving birth, the complications associated and how to manage them…
“It’s possible for a woman to have children at 50 years and above. This is often associated with increased morbidity and mortality. So increased maternal age is associated with increased obstetrical management which has to be specialized for the patients.
This is because as the maternal age increases there would have been some pre-existing maternal risk factors such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, myomes (uterine fibroids) or obesity.
“Furthermore, complications such as gestational diabetes, hypertensive disorders (such as pre-eclampsia) and low birth weight in increasing maternal age could occur in ongoing pregnancies. They are also at a higher risk for stillbirth and perinatal morbidity and mortality.
“During pregnancy, increased maternal age could lead to an increased rate of malpresentation (presentation not being cephalic or the head of the baby presenting, thus, increased breech and other forms of presentation) and represents an independent odd ratio for cesarean section.
Owing to these facts, obstetric management in the older gravida needs to be adapted in order to manage the possible complications.
Extra care is needed for treatment involved for the obstetrics. Also, the booking of antenatal visits should be done regularly to ensure close monitoring. This situation is usually better with planned deliveries meaning setting dates and deliver with C/S. Because older women are more likely to have a cesarean section than younger women.”
We also spoke with Doctor Curtis Oguamallam (Gynecologist)
“There are chances of having a baby at 50. Older women are more likely to have miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies while their children are more likely to be born with genetic abnormalities. There are lots of risks to having a baby at 50 as 85 percent of babies born at such age bracket are born with one deformity or the other. I once have a patient who’s 51.
She was pregnant for her first child and we carried out CS for her safe delivery. The baby was delivered though weighed less compared to other babies born at 20s and 30s. And the baby skin colour isn’t that friendly. These and other risks are attached to giving birth at 50.
Enough fertility pills during pregnancy can also help reduce the risk of suffering any form of abnormalities during the child birth. Every woman, no matter what her age, deserves the best possible care during pregnancy to avoid deformity.”
FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW
* In the United States, between 1997 and 1999,539 births were reported among mothers over age 50 (four per 100,000 births), with 194 being over 55 years of age.
* The oldest mother to date to conceive was 71 years.
* The youngest mother, 5 years old.
* According to statistics from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, in the UK, more than 20 babies are born to women over age 50 per year through in-vitro fertilization with the use of donor eggs
* In Nigeria, cases of women who conceived at 50 and 59 have been reported.
- OLUWAFEMI SOEWU