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Resolutions of a Pregnant 36-Year-Old

by Jane Wangersky | August 3rd, 2012 | Pregnancy

Pregnant women aged 35 and over are sometimes — happily, not very often anymore — called “senile gravidas”. It has nothing to do with failing mental power, it just means that you’re considered a little old to be having a baby.

Anyone over 35 should know her own mind and have some faith in her own judgement, whether she’s ever been pregnant before or not. During my last pregnancy, at age 36, I made a few decisions that I would’ve handled differently earlier in life:

To take it calmly every time someone, especially a medical professional decades older than me, said “at your age”. The risks for an older mother and her child are real, as I knew from experience, and the doctors and nurses were just doing their jobs by being cautious. At the same time, I didn’t want to get obsessed by the risks, and I often reminded myself that plenty of women in my family had had babies after 35 without any problems.

No amniocentesis. It would’ve been nice to know I was having another boy — where I live, ultrasound techs aren’t allowed to tell. Likewise, it would’ve been good to be prepared for any disabilities in the baby. But the test carried a small chance of causing miscarriage, which I was not willing to take.

Yes to induced labor. Once I had been very opposed to any intervention in childbirth. But when the doctor told me the baby was gaining weight so fast that I might have to have a C-section, I discussed it with my husband and decided even an induction was better than trying to recover from surgery while caring for a newborn. Especially at my age.

Formula is okay. My son was born hungry, and my milk didn’t come in for a few days, during which I wondered if it ever would. So he was fed formula, and we stopped on the way home from the hospital to buy more. Not optimal, but I didn’t let myself worry that I was ruining his health for life. And yes, there are places you can get donated mother’s milk — but I wasn’t about to look into that until I was sure I wouldn’t have enough of my own. (Eventually, it started flowing.)

Your mileage may vary — I just know what worked for me.

  1. […] I wrote last time, a pregnant woman over the age of 35 finds herself being treated a little differently from a younger […]

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