Over 40 when you give birth?

Didn't realise I was such a geriatric until I got pregnant. Now Obs Consultant has me worried and anxious as though I've done something wrong by conceiving so late in life - putting my life and the life of my unborn child at so much risk that she said (regardless of my gynae consultant advice) that I should have "elective" c-section. A natural birth would not be possible, I would have to be induced with drip and give birth on back which she said was very dangerous. Thing is my gynae consultant says pregnancy and natural birth could cure me of adhesions and chronic pain. C-section will re damage scar tissue from multiple myomectomy and could leave me with more adhesions and prolong chronic pelvic pain - this time with a newborn to look after. After seeing Obs - who diagnosed simply on age, without seeing my notes, examining me or consulting gynae, I'm now racked with fear about my labour and fact at 36wks I have to make a decision, bearing in mind the Obs saying "you don't want to jeopardise your miracle do you?".

20 Replies

  • So unfair, I have ready many posts of ladies 40 and over having textbook labours. Don't be alarmed maybe get a second opinion and let nature take it's course... I have heard that being induced makes labour more painful so an epidural maybe a better option. Hope all goes well. x

  • That's not fair I have read that lots of women over 40 have given birth naturally and done it safely with both mother and baby being fine.

    Has your midwife talked to you about the ricks of giving birth naturally or having a c-section?

    And being induced does hurt more but I did it with out an epidural and very little gas and air. (I was induced 13 days ago with propess the tampon like one they leave in for 24-30hrs)

    The best thing is to listen to the advice and make the best decision for you and your baby.

    Good luck and hope all goes well x

  • I had an awful awful birth experience.....and I had just turned 28. I know of many women who gave birth 40 and over and had natural, vaginal births with no issue.......the only issue that seemed to crop up with a few was that they did not want them to go overdue at all and wanted to induce early. Unless there are established medical grounds for all this, then it sounds like a load of old twonk to me x

  • this sounds rather cheeky of your Obs consultant in my opinion as your age has very little to no effect of what your general well-being and even state of mind could be at the time of delivery.

    i know women who are nearly 40 or even over 40 have given birth to their child without any intervention at all and the child was absolutely fine with no major concern to mother or baby.

    my only suggestion as to why your Obs consultant may have said this is that if this is your 1st pregnancy he /she may not want the baby to become too comfortable and maybe pass the expected date of delivery as the NHS system is in an already tightly run situation and may not want to jepodise the baby's health.

  • Hi there, I would ask for a second opinion, You have the right to do so. Age alone should not be the only factor to consider. In your case I think because you have other problems, correct me if I am wrong. I am expecting baby number 4 at 40 plus and age has not been mentioned at all apart from the only fact that they will not let me go to full term, they will aim to do a cervical sweep 1 to 2 weeks before the E.D.D. to minimise any risks if any at all. If it does not work, I will until nature takes its course. All my kids have been overdue and the sweep worked for me, so hopefully it should work this time around. You have the right to question anything you are not happy with and make sure that you understand everything correctly. Older Mums should not be made to feel guilty of their choice to have a child later on as sometimes that is how life turns out, or because of so many reasons it was not possible at an earlier age. Please don't feel that you cannot challenge the medics as you can and if you are not happy then say so. I know lots of older Mums who have gone on top have healthy babies without any problems. Good luck with everything and best wishes.

  • Oh goodness! How awful! I know that the consultant just wants a healthy mother and baby at the end of your pregnancy (as everyone does) but they really shouldn't put you in that position. Certainly ask for a second opinion and ultimately go with what you know to be right. Being over 40 does mean increased risk but they are not a certainty - far from it! While it's good for every mother to make her peace with the idea of a c-section as you never know what life will throw at you, you need to aim for the birth you want. Very best to you x

  • OMG that is disgusting. Remember that you DO NOT have to follow this ill thought through 'advice'. My daughter is 6mths old and I was 44 when I had her. The recommendation was always elective c-section but I stood firm and had a natural birth, with just gas and air, and without complications. Please send me a message if you want any more details/advice. xxx

  • P.S. I had SPD, and was also induced at 37 wks (but because I lost an ID twin at 4mths, not because of by age).

  • Hi. I've been there too. Same scary story. I am 42, had my baby last october. It took me 3 long, painful days to deliver, all because I followed the advice of consultant and had induction. The worst decision I ever made in my life. Please, just listen your body, and your instinct.

    They will make feel the worst mum ever, you are not. Stick to your gut and have your own way. If I could go back I would just wait until my baby was ready, anyway even with induction I had 3 days moping the hospital floor, crying with pain, which no-one cared. The nurses and doctors all made mistakes, one did not put the stripe properly in place, others did not check when I told them it was coming off, another said the dilation was 1.5 cm but the collegue disagreed, 1 cm only. The epidural machine run out of batteries, the nurses said my baby wasn't moving.... almost a year gone past but I remember all as yesterday.

    good luck and keep us informed

  • Know what you mean, I was called geriatric, high risk etc.

    I was 43 and was induced at 40 weeks on medical advice. Had an epidural but labour was swift and relatively straightforward.

    But I wasn't allowed home when the induction had been started, which I would have been if not had 'high risk'.

    Don't let them get you down! Age risk is much more about weight than anything else apparently...

  • I know exactly how you feel, I'm pregnant with my second and im nearly 40. I have had hospital appointments nearly every week for one thing or another, glucose tests, blood pressure checks, growth scans,the list goes on. They tried to tell me I needed a c section because I had to have an emergency c section with my last. I asked them to give me 'evidence based information that could be backed with research rather than just opinion' it turns out that a c section is actually a higher risk than a normal delivery and having an induction is not recommended. I would say question everything if you're not happy , I seem to get a different answer every time I see a different consultant. Unfortunately I think that sometimes they tell you what is easier and aren't always up to date on the latest research and info. Hope it goes well and try not to worry too much ;-)

  • I was 40 having my first (and only) child - now 16 months old. Throughout pregnancy I was assured that additional risk due to age was minimal. At about 37 weeks my midwife identified an ectopic heartbeat on the baby, and as a result of that, and to minimise risk to the baby, the decision was made to induce me at 40+2 (the sweep at 40+1 hadn't had any effect) - this was nothing to do with my age. I was induced (via pessary) at about 10pm on Friday, and Jess was born at about 1am on Sunday. The only pain relief I used was my wonderful TENS machine. The only complication was a retained placenta which was removed with no sense of panic in the operating theatre, and again was nothing to do with my age.

  • I think age is really overrated. What matters more than your age is whether you are in good physical shape and whether you live a healthy lifestyle. People's biological age is often not equivalent to their real age and some medical professionals have very conservative views. I got pregnant last autumn at 39 just three months off contraception although my gynaecologist said "Oh, you're already 39 - if you'd still like to have a baby you should better hurry up and he wanted to precribe me hormons without me even trying naturally." Then I didn't have any complications during pregnancy. However, I had to go for two growth scans since I measured small for dates, but I gave birth to a healthy baby at 39 weeks; it was a natural birth and no-one had ever mentioned or suggested a c-section or induction. Now at 9 weeks post natal I think despite having had an epidural and an episiotomy my body seems to be back to its pre-pregnancy state apart from a varicose vein on my shin. So I think age doesn't necessariliy matter. I understand that it's worrying if consultants voice their concerns, but I'd listen to my gut feeling or get another professional opinion. If they didn't notice any abnormalitiesI don't think you necessarily need a c-section.

  • Thanks SO much ladies, you've really boosted my confidence about everything. I just didn't realise I was going to have to fight on this one, which was probably naive on my part. So I've called in my troops to help me make the right choices for me and my baby. I've written to my Gynae Consultant who owes me big time for the "work debacle" - asking him to send my notes to Obst and confirm my prognosis for natural birth being completely possible. My accupuncturist has informed me that she can also intervene on my behalf and offer to induce me with accupuncture rather than by injection/sweep in first instance. My pregnancy yoga teacher is going to help me create a birth plan with different scenarios to help me prepare mentally. A yoga friend has got me in touch with her Hypno birthing teacher and hubby is all up for coming along to joint hypnobirth and pregnancy yoga lessons (this is an amazing revelation ;) ) Hubby has managed to book us onto NCT signature course too and I've made a request for a tour of the birthing suites at my chosen hospital. Hopefully by 36 wks I'll be a lot clearer and happy for the universe to do it's thang. Let me know if I've missed anything ;) xxx

  • Hey, I do not have time for a lengthy reply nor have I read other responses but I AM an over 40 Mum.

    I conceived right before my 40tj birthday. My little man has just turned one this Sunday and I am back at work.

    I too was 'labeled' as high risk due to age and was having an induction forced upon me since my 1st trip to the hospital to see the consultant.

    I hated being pigeon holed based on a number so I resisted.

    I was in the end induced at 40+3 and I had a 24 hr Pessary, waters broken and membrane to birth was 4hr45 mins. I had no pain relief to 9cm!! And then only when I was moved to a labour room (they didn't realise how far dilated I was) I delivered with a Grade 2 tear with some gas and air for the last hour!

    Right just got to London so have to run xx

  • I had my little man at 43 and had NO problems as im in good nick and so is he,Dont worry they are just over protective as things can go wrong if you are older and unfit.I had a lovely blissful pregnancy and 4 hr easy labour only gas n air in last hours. Baby breast fed for 4 months and is always 75 percentile height n weight,dont worry its possible,my nieces are ten fifteen years younger and both had c sections and colicky stressfull babies.Trust your instincts and enjoy your baby,I would only say eat clean healthy low fat food and keep your weight down in pregnancy and stay active,it helps you a lot afterwards too.

  • they booked me in for a c section on monday but my baby came on the friday before ,Thank God i was spared as I had three other babies all natural too. My consultant was excellent though,but overprotective too.

  • Bit late, but just wanted to add that I was nearly 42 when I gave birth naturally, with no problems with the labour or birth x

  • If 40 is high risk God help me. I'm 46 and 31 weeks pregnant with my 2nd girl.

  • Ha ha Mares!! I know. It took me to get pregnant to be told I was a geriatric ;) ;)

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