Pregnancy 35 and Older Community
13.9k Members
1505610 tn?1289831825

Baby at 38 - too old???

I am 37 yrs old and have two healthy boys age 6 & 4.  I have been wanting to have 1 more baby but hesitated because of financial and obligations concern.  I went to my doctor in July 2010 for the yearly check up and bring up the possibility on trying to become pregnant next year.  Wow....she immediately brought up all the concerns on "OLD AGE" pregnancy - higher risks on down syndrome, miscarriage....etc.  She even said that if in the case that the 3rd baby has some medical issues, that would change the dynamic between me and the boys!!! I was kinda discouraged as I didn't really thought that 38 was that old - well, before I walked in the doc's office anyway.  Has anyone have similar experiences?  How big of a risk really of having baby at this age?  Feel big difference during the pregnancy between a younger and older age?  Any suggestions would help!  Thanks!!

52 Responses
667829 tn?1297978123
I had a baby - conceived at 39, no genetic anomolies
My girlfriend had her first baby at 38, second at 39, no genetic anomolies.......

Good Luck,
1454495 tn?1290232896
I got that from my doc to, she goes why do you want to go and do that at your age. I am 41, 42 in Feb. I have 4 kids 22, 21, 17 and 9. I have had 2 cycles since I have had my IUD out, first cycle I had a miscarriage, and I think I maybe pregnant now.
My mother had me at 39 .hoping I can have one more at 37 when my husband comes home.
1278093 tn?1294320384
i am pregnant with my first at 36 and we want 1-2 more....
you do have to think more about chromosomal issues, but otherwise it's been an uneventful pregnancy
1068361 tn?1290628159
I just had my first at 39. Healthy baby boy! I did have pih during pregnancy, was monitored closely and induced at 38 weeks! Good Luck!
1473300 tn?1397588529
I was concerned at my last appointment about letting my doctor know that I am trying to get pregnant at 37 because I was afraid she would be negative about it. She was actually really encouraging. I was very happy she felt that way. I am sorry your doctor is so negative.
1169162 tn?1331232353
I just had my first baby at age 40 (pregnant at 39).  He is 10 weeks old and so far is the picture of health.  My pregnancy was also uneventful, and my doctor was very supportive.  38 is not too old even in the slightest - there is an increased risk of genetic abnormalities, but even with that risk , the genetic counselor explained to me that there is 98% chance at age 39 of having a healthy baby.  There also is an increased risk for pregnancy  complications such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia, but again not likely and so, so many of us (here on the forum and beyond) have had normal pregnancies and health pregnancy at your age and older.  Unless you really are attached to your doctor, you might want to think about switching to a more supportive doctor.  Good luck.
Avatar universal
I'm 41 and 32 weeks pg my other child os 7. My doctor mentions my age a lot but that's about all. I did not have any special testing except level 2 ultrasound.  I even have high blood pressure when I'm not pregnant but it has been great with no meds!! My ONLY problem with this pregnancy is severe fatigue, which I don't think is a true health issue. I say go for it!!
Avatar universal
I am suprised your doc said 38 is old... sheesh I am 38 and TTC, I am ready now more than ever and  in the best health ever, and not afraid anymore. My RE and gyn had no concerns at all. I know lots of people who had kids in their late 30s, friends from high school, sister, etc, very uneventful pregnancies and all babies were healthy. There is always a chance of DS and other abnormalties but all in all, the chances are greater of having a healthy baby. Good luck!\
Avatar universal
Maybe it depends where you live.  38 is not too old at all where I live to have a baby.  I had my first at 40 (pregnant at 39) - no issues.  The only thing my doctor recommended differently because of my age was to do a CVS.  I felt amazing my whole pregnancy - full of energy except well, for the first trimester - and had an easy vaginal delivery.  Of course, I don't know how to compare it since I'd never had a baby at a younger age!

If you really want a baby, I'd say definitely go for it!  And maybe switch doctors!  Sheesh, I think it's interesting your doctor said anything like that...
611020 tn?1290571629
My sister had a baby at 40 or 41....the most beautiful girl I've ever seen. Don't think it's too old. And I've known 25 year olds having DS babies..so you can't always follow statistics. There's always the one person who gets the short end of the stick.....(be it good or bad)
Avatar universal
I am 38 & still trying to conceive my first after 2yrs.  

I say if you want a 3rd GO FOR IT!!!!!!!!!!
1505610 tn?1289831825
Thank you for all your advice. I'm definitely going to search around to see if there are docs around who are more supportive. I agree that I have several friends who just had their 1st baby and they are my age. I'm pretty healthy and active and I feel good about it. Do you gals have natural birth with this baby?

I'm not going to try probably until the summer of next year. Will see if I can get pregnant as easy as the first two times. That's another concern........

Avatar universal
I had my youngest at 39 and we are ttc another now. I am 42 but really healthy so I have no fears. It is taking a while longer to concieve than I had hoped, but time will tell. My ob for my last one never mentioned my age. I would definitly try to find a more supportive doctor. They are out there it might just take a while to find the right one.
1496527 tn?1289074439
I'm 38 and expecting our first baby! I'll be 39 when I give birth. Though I'm considered to be "advanced maternal age", the nurse said I wasn't too old at all. :)
1066572 tn?1296240001
Obviously a hot topic given the number of responses.

I'm 43 and pregnant with my first child (31 weeks).  

So far all is going well and will try for another about 6 months after he is born.  Yes, there is an added risk of genetic abnormalities - at my age, the risk for DS is 1:35.  That means a 97% chance of having a healthy baby.  

Realistically I feel like I am in my early thirties, am very healthy, stay active and eat right.

Your risk for DS at age 38 is 1:177, or a 99% chance you will have a healthy baby.
I was wondering do you still get a period
377493 tn?1356502149
My son was born one week before I turned 41.  I am currently pregnant with my second, and this one will be born at 42.  My son is healthy and completely normal...in fact meeting his milestones ahead of time.

I personally have not had a lot of negativity.  My OB had her children in her 40's as well, and my family Dr.'s wife had their last in her mid 40's.  If I were you, I might think of switching Dr's.  When to have a baby is a very very personal decision, and unless you have a medical condition that would make it a problem, there is nothing wrong with having a child at 38, and it's none of her business.

Yes, our risks are slightly higher, and increase with age.  But I have been around this forum a long time now, and the vast majority of the children born in the time I've been here have been just fine.

Good luck to you!!
1505610 tn?1289831825
You all gave me lots of positive vibe on this issue. Thank you all for that. I don't know if anybody feels that way but sometimes you just have this great feeling on preceding something, though it might be difficult but you just know it's the right thing to do?

I'm going to use these next couple months to made up my final decision. I'm so glad to gain support in this forum, people at my work place are very career minded or young professional with very few who have children. They'll think that I'm cracy in wanting more kids.

On a side note, anyone has to pursuade their husband for having another child? :)

Avatar universal
I'm so glad you found answers and support on here and good luck making your decision.

To answer your last side note q, my husband actually WANTS a third child regardless of our age. I would love to have a third one too but I will be 42, almost 43, when this one is born, so I will be calling it quits then. I am jealous you are 38 and get to have another child!!! ( and still be kind of young:).   Take care.
231441 tn?1333892766

your doctor is ageist.  Find another. :)

I had my first baby at 38.  I had lots of medical issues.  But she is perfect.  My doctors were never anything but encouraging.

I am trying for my second at 40.  My doctors are concerned about my other medical issues, but have never brought up the age as an issue (except as a reason why we're having trouble getting pregnant).... but they are totally supportive and have never even hinted I shouldn't be trying! :)

I have a friend who is 45 and trying for her 4th now.  Age is only a number and as long as you're ovulating you have prospects to have a healthy child.

1505610 tn?1289831825
@ Everybody!!!  Thanks for the support!  I would love to thank you all individually but cannot quite get to every single one, but THANK YOU!!!  and glad to hear an overwhelming POSITIVE note on this topic.   I have not thought on changing my doctor before I got on this forum, I had my previous two with this office, had good experiences with them but never feel very personal with any of the doctors.  It's a group practice and I always end up seeing the Practitioner anyway.  I am definitely going to "shop" around and get the feel of different doctors.  

Picking you guys brains again - what kind of prenatal testing are recommended for ages over 35, and what is really necessary??

@Allip77 - Good luck on your second one!  

@Kathy421 - thanks for all the statistics, always great to have numbers to support the theory and to throw it into my doc's face....

@Nola0805 - thanks for the comments too!  

@mama2fivekids - good luck!!

377493 tn?1356502149
There isn't actually a whole lot of extra testing for those of us of "advanced maternal age" (don't you hate that title?  I do..lol).  At the end of first trimester, they will do a test involving both bloodwork and ultrasound (here it's called first trimester screen, but I have heard it referred to as other names as well).  In the ultrasound they are measuring the nucheal fold at the back of the neck. The bloodwork is looking for a ratio between certain hormones.  They will compile that info and give you your "odds' for having a baby with either trisonomy 13, 18 or 21.  In my case I came back with odds of 1:13 that my baby would have Downs Sydndrome.  The important thing to remember about this test is that it is not diagnostic, it is simply to help you determine whether further testing is recommended.  In my case I opted for Amnio, which is 99% accurate in detecting chromosonal abnormalities.

Some women choose to forgo this and have CVS, which is also very accurate in detecting a chromosonal abnormality, but is done earlier (I believe around 12 or 13 weeks.  Amnio is done around 16 weeks).  Both CVS and Amnio to have a slight risk of miscarriage associated, so it's important to do your homework and know if you are comfortable with that risk.  

In my case the Amnio results showed my son did not have DS and was typical.

Other then that, I can't think of any tests that are different.  You have your glucose test for gestational diabetes, anatomy scan at 20 weeks, but I think those are the same no matter what age you are.

It's really not that much higher of a risk.  Don't let negativity frighten you...if you want another baby, go for it, and good luck!!!
1505610 tn?1289831825
Great info!!!  Good luck on your upcoming baby #2 and hope I will have a definitely answer within the next couple months and have good news too!!  Really...!!?? that's how they called us:  "advanced maternal age" ??? What an ungracious name that is...... Lord, I never thought this day would come.....well,  at least none of my kid's friend thinks that I'm their grandmother!!!!!  LOL

Come on, 40s is the new 30s, right?  
Avatar universal
Hi,  having a kid "sometimes" is not about an age but what it really concerm me is your post when you say "  hesitated because of financial and obligations concern"...

You need to talk to your husband first and agreed and plan it. it your financial situation has change and you dont mind taking care of 2 youngers and a baby and then you have a chance.

I do understand the doctors when they ask you questions about your age and how they are concern when you are older than 35 because is called hi risk pregancy.

at first i felt insulted , I see all these hollywood artist like celine dion, madona,travoltas wife getting pregnant after 40 and i though.." oH they look like 20's  they look so young and having kids..I can do it too!

I have been trying since 39y/o and I did agreed with my DH to TTC until I was 42y/o ( no more than that!) and when i when to my doctor to get back on the anticonceptive pill...surprise!

Now  i just turned 42y/ and pregnant with my first child ( married for 6 years)
and all the meeting and appoinments and the genetic problems you can encounter really freak me out.

I didnt know anything about this, its my first pregnancy so can i know? i always though kids with genetic problems or down syndrome comes to the world because it runs in the family( ?)   I was very wrong!

I try to post some of my concerns about it and many people are younger so i went to other forums where mothers are different age and have kids with problems and started reading, many of them had good testing and hi numbers and they got a child with problems.
I think the amnio test is accurate in some genetic problems but not for others.

I advice/reccomend to all 35y/o + to get all the blood test and a genetic consulting meeting to understand a little bit better what is so called" hi risk pregnancy" before getting pregnant.

Good luck to everybody!

Avatar universal
I don't think it is considered a "high risk" pregnancy.  I asked my old OB/GYN when I was 39 and pregnant and my new OB/GYN now that I'm 42 and pregnant and BOTH doctors said it's not high risk.  It's what adgal says - you're advised to do more screening for chromosomal abnormalities but everything else is the same.  The only other thing that might be different is that they don't love you to go too much past your due date...I was 10 days past my due date when I had my dd but my doctor had said she wouldn't have wanted me to go more than 2 weeks past.  When I was a week or so overdue, she had me go in for stress tests to make sure the baby was fine still (but this could be the same as with younger women).
Have an Answer?
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Get information and tips on how to help you choose the right place to deliver your baby.
Get the facts on how twins and multiples are formed and your chance of carrying more than one baby at a time.
Learn about the risks and benefits of circumcision.
What to expect during the first hours after delivery.
Learn about early screening and test options for your pregnancy.
Learn about testing and treatment for GBS bacterium.