What age is high risk to have a baby?
If you get pregnant at age 25, your risk of having a baby with Down syndrome, for example, is about 1 in 1,250, according to the National Institutes of Health. At age 40, the risk is 1 in 100. If you'll be 35 or older on your due date, you'll be offered genetic counseling.
Maternal Age. One of the most common risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy is the age of the mother-to-be. Women who will be under age 17 or over age 35 when their baby is due are at greater risk of complications than those between their late teens and early 30s.
- In your early 30s, your chances of getting pregnant are only slightly lower than in your late 20s, and your risk of having a miscarriage or a baby with Down syndrome is only slightly higher. But at 35, that decline in fertility begins to accelerate.
- For a healthy pregnancy, your doctor will probably want to see you on the following recommended schedule of prenatal visits: Weeks 4 to 28: 1 prenatal visit a month. Weeks 28 to 36: 1 prenatal visit every 2 weeks. Weeks 36 to 40: 1 prenatal visit every week.
- Health experts advise women to wait at least 18 months between pregnancies. But research by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly 30 percent of women who've given birth were pregnant again within 18 months.
But if you're over 35 and generally healthy, your pregnancy should be too. “Traditionally 35 and older is considered a high risk pregnancy,” says Hall. “Age has less to do with the health of your baby versus the health of your body. A 40-year-old women could be healthier than a 20 year old, biologically.”
- But there is one key risk factor for Down syndrome: maternal age. A 25-year-old woman has a 1 in 1,200 chance of having a baby with Down syndrome; by 35, the risk has increased to 1 in 350; by age 40, to 1 in 100; and by 49, it's 1 in 10, according to the National Down Syndrome Society.
- A man's age matters. As men get older, the chances of conceiving and having a healthy child decline. Male fertility starts to decline after 40 when sperm quality decreases. This means it takes longer for their partners to conceive and when they do, there's an increased risk of miscarriage.
- A woman of childbearing age is usually between the ages of 15- and 44-years old. These ages are a guideline and women can have babies earlier and later than the years indicated. A woman of childbearing age is typically considered fertile.
A high-risk pregnancy is one that threatens the health or life of the mother or her fetus. Risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy can include: Existing health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or being HIV-positive.
- In very rare cases, you can have a false-positive result. This means you're not pregnant but the test says you are. You could have a false-positive result if blood or protein is present in your urine. And certain drugs, such as tranquilizers, anti-convulsants, or hypnotics, may also cause false-positive results.
- Only medicines that have the pregnancy hormone hCG in them can give a false positive test result. A false positive is when a test says you are pregnant when you're not. Sometimes medicines containing hCG are used to treat infertility (not being able to get pregnant). Alcohol and illegal drugs do not affect HPT results.
- Either way, having a high-risk pregnancy means it's more likely that you or your baby will have health problems during pregnancy, birth, or after delivery. These could be very minor problems, but in some cases, a high-risk condition can be life threatening for a woman or her baby.
Updated: 3rd October 2019