Over 50 Fertility: Older Moms Enjoy Newborn Bliss

Samantha Kemp-Jackson

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Older women weigh their fertility choices despite "geriatric" title

No, that title isn't a typo. "Geriatric" pregnancies are really a thing. A geriatric pregnancy, in medical terms, simply means that the mother carrying the child is over the age of 35. Pretty unbelievable because in most places, 35 is not considered old, at least not old enough to be equated with a term that most of us connect to senior citizens.

News of a 57-year-old woman giving birth shocked many who didn't know that it was possible. While in strictly medical terms, the New Hampshire woman’s age at gestation meets the requirements, that’s likely where it ends.

Check out this video of that new mom, Barbara Higgins doing cross-fit while pregnant. She could give any 34-year-old or younger a run for their money.

VIDEO: New Hampshire Woman Gives Birth at Age 57

Her story about how and why she came to delivering her child at an advanced age would touch anyone. But of course there are naysayers who believe that for many reasons, giving birth in your late fifties is a bad idea.

The question is, “says who?”

As fertility technology progresses and the age of older parents continues to climb, we will likely be seeing more of older women making their dreams of motherhood come true well beyond age 35. There’s no question that there are challenges to making this choice but there are also advantages to doing so. Experiencing a “geriatric” pregnancy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And get ready to see more of these types of pregnancies as technology advances and social/cultural expectations shift.

Experiencing a “geriatric” pregnancy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And get ready to see more of these types of pregnancies as technology advances and social/cultural expectations shift.

Later Age Pregnancies Becoming More Common

The reality is that becoming a parent later in life is an increasingly more common occurrence. As women struggle with financial responsibilities, career goals and the inherent challenges of fertility that age brings, the definition of “older mom” will continue to shift. While this particular situation in New Hampshire is atypical it may not be the case for long. Women around the world are reassessing their options and making choices that are best for them and their families.

CHART: Female Egg Count by Age (Source: She Cares)

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Some may disagree - so what?

Many who disagree with the prospect of women post age 40 having kids aren’t aware of the fact that this reality is easier to realize now than it was even 20 or 30 years ago. Advances in technology, better health in women as the pass the 40-year-old benchmark and financial stability have resulted in more women and their partners making these choices.

For the naysayers, there are more negative outcomes and issues that are a result of these decisions, but it’s safe to say that a growing number of women are now considering their fertility and childbearing options.

As with any choice, especially one that is so life-changing. A full consideration of some of the pros and cons of doing so should be considered. For those who are thinking about it one way or another, here are some points that may sway them towards or away from this choice.

Should you have a baby after 40?

The Pros of Having a Baby After 40 (Or Later)

  • Older moms are more calm and confident in their abilities
  • Their level of self-assuredness makes them less anxious than younger women
  • Those who are over 40 are generally financially stable and therefore have more money available to care for their families
  • Life experience has usually resulted in these mothers being wiser and therefore able to make sound decisions
  • Confidence that comes with age means that these moms don’t feel like they have anything to prove
  • At an older age, careers are more established, so the ability to go back to work at a time of their choice is easier than for younger women who are just working to build their careers

The Cons of Having a Baby After 40 (Or Later)

  • The judgement of others can be harsh and cruel – comments about being “selfish” or “crazy” are common
  • Unless the older mom is a fitness devotee, it’s likely that they’ll have less energy than they had when they were younger
  • Going through menopause and middle-age while dealing with young kids or teen angst can be challenging for women who choose to have children later in life
  • Generally speaking, older parents will have less time to spend with their kids and may not be able to be an actively-engage as a grandparent due to age-related illnesses
  • The children who are born to older moms may not get to know their grandparents

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I write about Lifestyle content with a focus on Parenting, Society and Trends. I also talk about how things have changed on my podcast, "Parenting Then and Now."

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