Mothers Over 35 Have Fewer Babies Born With Congenital Birth Defects
We all know how youth obsessed our culture is today, worshipping the woman’s 20-year old body as if it were a religion to feel guilty about and retaliate against all in the same breath. This fascination with youth carries over into women’s reproductive health, as well. No surprise. Mothers who are over 35 when they have a baby are considered high risk simply because of their age. Never mind that the 18-year old pregnant mother may subsist on Diet Coke and Cheetohs while the 35-year old mother takes great care with her vitamins, prenatal visits and has the money to spend on her health.
Women over the age of 35 who get pregnant are seen as the minority, old mothers who appear on the verge of collapse, because after all, the best years to reproduce supposedly are in the twenties. (Damnit, Women, why won’t you fuck more when your body is hot? Or so say the predominantly male medical profession…but I digress…) So, what’s an old lady supposed to do if she is like the biblical Ruth wanting more kids, or maybe she can suddenly afford them? Apparently she shouldn’t worry so much about her advanced maternal age, because her risk of congenital disorders decreases with age:
The researchers found that older mothers — aged 35 and older — were 40 percent less likely than younger mothers to have a child with one or more of the birth defects known as major congenital malformations. The researchers reached this number after adjusting their statistics so they wouldn’t be thrown off by high or low numbers of women with certain risk factors.
The rate of heart defects were similar in both groups, the investigators found, but there were lower rates of brain, kidney and abdominal wall defects.
Say what? There may be some advantage to old ladies having kids? How? Well, not everyone agrees with that. Notice the gender of the commenting obstetricians and their viewpoints:
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Hmm, the male OB said he didn’t believe it, that women that old probably couldn’t even get pregnant. (Maybe we are all washed up after 30?) The female physician said the news about the risk of lowered defects is “good news.” Maybe the increased risk of miscarriage is the increased knowledge the body has of which pregnancies are healthy and which are not. Maybe it’s a form of maternal wisdom, as opposed to a lucky break. Whatever the reason, it’s welcome news for all women who are frequently hounded simply for their age in a culture that only values our youth.