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ask: Does anyone have experience having a baby at 49?

I am almost 49 with 2 kids and have a very strong desire to have a third child. I still get my period every month and I never had a fertility problem, so I know the chances are slim but I wonder if I could get pregnant. I am about 25-30 lbs. overweight. I'm worried about birth defects or other health issues for the baby, medical risks to myself, financial stress, and the psychological issues associated with having a child who may lose his or her mother at a young age. Despite these worries, I really want to have a child. Has anyone had a situation having a baby at almost 50?

Add a Comment4 Comments

MsDeeva

I am pretty much is your shoes right now. I am almost 49, I have 5 children, 28, 27, 21, 19, 15. I am now remarried, 6 years, my husband is 36 and has no children of his own. He really wants to a child, I am somewhat apprehensive because of my age, possible complications with pregnancy, and baby. I am about 25 pounds over weight. (currently working on the weight issue). I'm otherwise very healthy.

I really don't know what to do, I know the clock is ticking. I have 11 more years to retire from my job. I've been looking forward to this, and traveling, as well as just having time for myself.

I'd appreciate honest opinions.

September 28, 2011 - 7:42am
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to MsDeeva)

Hi MsDeeva

Thanks for your post!

The same advice above is pretty much the same for you. Your husband knew your age going in so expecting to have a baby wasn't completely realistic. A 36 year old man marrying a near 50 year old woman and expecting a baby with her is not necessarily going to happen. Obviously you are at totally different phases in life; you have had to family, he has not started yet. We forget that technology aside, Mother Nature still rules the roost. I hope he's not putting pressure on you!

Very fit, healthy women at 49 still have 49 year old eggs. So getting pregnant the natural way be very difficult. Instead of trying the old-fashioned way, you may be better off going straight for IVF and use donor eggs. The choice is yours but it sounds like you want a baby for him, not so much for you? If this is the case, then don't have a baby. You'll be back to feedings, diapers and colic in your 50s when you have clearly been looking forward to retirement.

But if you really want this, then you have the absolute right to do that! But you don't have the luxury of waiting anymore. Time to make the real decisions!

Good luck!
~Susan

September 28, 2011 - 10:02am
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide

Hi Julie!

I agree with Diane that it's not incredibly unusual (although it's still 'unusual' for women to give birth at 50) and it's doesn't matter what society thinks. As long as you can physically and emotionally handle a newborn at 50 - who cares what the world thinks (bear in mind, however, that 'society' will have some commentaries but I'll talk about that in a minute!).

I would like to caution you about actually getting pregnant. The odds are VERY much against you. It can happen, of course, but it's extremely difficult. You may also risk having twins, or in the case of IVF - even more. Downs Syndrome is also a pretty high risk. At 40, the risk is pretty high at 1:100. At 49, you have a 1:12 chance. That's huge. I don't want to dissuade you at all (I had my kids mid-30s which is considerably later than average) but want to you know all the risks, as well as the benefits. And there ARE huge benefits to have kids at an older age, as Diane pointed out.

There will be social issues to contend with. You'll be 55 with a kindergartner. You'll be mistaken for a grandmother. People might make unkind comments. If you don't care (and you shouldn't, but let's be real - it can be hurtful) and you have a great support system and your husband is happy to do it, go for it.

Many celebs over 40 use IVF - some are very open about it but most don't like to talk about it although Courtney Cox, Joan Lundon, Cheryl Tiegs and Christie Brinkley have been very open about it. There is nothing wrong with IVF but just bear in mind that a lot of celebs having babies over 40 are using IVF. I say this so you know the financial aspects of it. IVF is pricey and it isn't always successful.

Adoption is also a great choice, if you want to have a baby. Some countries have a cut off age of 45 but others do not. Unfortunately it's so hard to adopt domestically (a pet peeve of mine) so start the process now, if you want to consider it.

If you have had children and are a great mom, then you will be again! But make some crucial decisions now before it'll be a perpetual dream and not a reality. I wish you the best in your decision. It sounds like you have a lot to offer a child - however they come (or came) into this world. It could be a new, fabulous beginning for all of you!

October 23, 2009 - 11:43am
Diane Porter

JulieKSH,

I have one friend who had her children at 46 and 49, and they are all healthy (as is my friend). While there are definitely concerns with older mothers and their pregnancies, they can be well managed. One of the largest concerns with your age group is actually fertility -- getting pregnant can be a challenge, even with regular periods. Your eggs are older and so even perfectly timed sex may not result in a pregnancy. But in terms of societal norm, you should absolutely feel free to pursue this.

Older mothers are more likely to deliver by Caesarean section, though the statistics are stronger for older mothers giving birth for the first time. A study published in Human Reproduction in 2007 said the following:

"The researchers undertook the study to evaluate the risks of pregnancy complications — including Caesarean delivery — associated with advancing maternal age among women pregnant with a single child.
"Overall, older mothers (over age 35) were more likely than were younger women to experience complications during pregnancy and delivery.
"The study authors found that the risk of delivery complications increased with the mother’s age, as did the risk of premature birth and infant death. Such complications include excessive bleeding during labor, prolonged labor lasting more than 20 hours, and dysfunctional labor that does not advance to the next stage.
"In addition, older pregnant women were more likely to have diabetes and hypertension during pregnancy."

BabyCentre.uk.co does note some wonderful things about being an older mum!

"On the plus side, you may have some physical and psychological benefits over your younger counterparts. Women starting a family in their 30s or 40s might lead a healthier life-style; they are often more highly educated and better off financially. They may understand the needs of their bodies, and look after themselves better in terms of exercise and nutrition.
"Mature women can have more positive perceptions of their bodies, and more readily tolerate the symptoms of pregnancy. At this age too, women often have more autonomy - independence and confidence to know what they want, and enhanced people skills to get it."

Is this the case for you, Julie?

That page also has sections that deal with the affect of your age on the baby, and on the birth:

http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy/antenatalhealth/ageandpregnancy/

And here's a website that might be great fun for you to explore. It's all about moms over age 40:

http://www.mothersover40.com/

And not that celebrities should affect anyone else's decision, but there have been quite a few high-profile moms in their 40s over the last few years. Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry, Geena Davis, Courteney Cox, Sharon Stone, Diane Keaton, Joan Lunden, Cheryl Tiegs and Susan Sarandon, to name a handful. The world has gotten quite used to seeing pregnant moms of all ages. If you have the energy to have another baby -- and deal with another round of diapers, bicycles, kindergarten and all the rest of it! -- then talk with your doctor, and go for it!

http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/mar2007/nichd-08.htm

October 23, 2009 - 8:52am
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