If being fit and healthy were the only conditions needed for a healthy pregnancy then Sonia Kruger would come out on top.
The energetic 47-year-old, who features on the front cover of Woman’s Day this week, told the magazine she is still very open to the idea of having kids.
But being in peak physical condition does not affect your biological ability to fall pregnant, especially when you’re a woman over 40.
That’s the advice of obstetrician and gynaecologist Andrew Zuschmann, who is also a spokesperson for the Australian Medical Association.
“From about 45 onwards a woman’s chances of falling pregnant spontaneously are almost impossible,” Dr Zuschmann said. “Most need IVF or donor eggs to fall pregnant.”
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Even a successful conception does not guarantee the woman or the baby are out of danger, he said.
A third of women over 40 are at risk of having a miscarriage compared to one in five women under 30.
Chances of premature birth and chromosomal abnormalities, like Down Syndrome, are also greatly increased. And older mothers are more likely to have high blood pressure and need medical intervention during the birth.
On the upside, women who are older can often be in a better place mentally and financially than younger women, and this can make life post-baby more enjoyable.
This has certainly been the case for Annette Crawford, 41, from the Adelaide Hills who had her baby son last year after trying to fall pregnant for just two months.
But the pregnancy itself was not without its scares. At her 19-week ultrasound the sonographer couldn’t locate a nasal bone. The absence can mean the possibility of a chromosomal abnormality.
“This resulted in an anxious wait and several further ultrasounds,”
Ms Crawford said. “I do remember feeling guilty and a bit ashamed that my increased age would automatically put the baby at risk. But as it turns out, it was eventually located and baby is normal.”
Ms Crawford describes herself as “happy, healthy and relishing motherhood” and now thinks her age was an advantage.
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