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Having a baby after forty

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According to the centers for disease control, the number of women having babies later in life is growing, but so do the health risks.

The birth rate for women age 40 to 44 has skyrocketed; around the country, it’s up 200 percent from the early 1980s.

Leigh Venters is just one example. “We were just not ready to have children. I think emotionally, mature wise, we were also wrapped up in our careers.”

Venters has a three-and-a-half year old son, Ian. She and her husband were married 18 years before deciding to start a family. “I think you have more patience, I think you’re more mature emotionally, I think you know exactly what you want when you’re older.”

Local OBGYN, Doctor Kelly Hill, says she’s seen an increase in patients classified as ‘advanced maternal age’, or anyone 35-and-up.

There are certain risks associated with these pregnancies.

“When you do wait, and wait till 35 to 40 years of age, several things do go up including still birth miscarriage, diabetes, chromosomal abnormalities, congenital anomalies, diabetes, high blood pressure,” Doctor Hill said.

Proper prenatal care and identifying potential health risks before conception are two ways to combat potential dangers during high-risk pregnancies. “There are so many things that we can do early now to diagnose things now that will make them have a healthier pregnancy, and to make them be educated to have a healthier pregnancy,” Doctor Hill said.

While ‘advanced maternal age’ begins at 35, Dr. Hill says the odds of having a healthy baby are still greater than having a child with health problems, despite the older age.

For Leigh Ventor, the benefits far outweighed any of the potential risks. “I love the smiles that he brings, the joy the pleasure he’s a happy child, he has his moments but he’s just such a gift.”

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According to the centers for disease control, the number of women having babies later in life is growing, but so do the health risks.

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Associated poll

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