"Advanced Maternal Age"
Outdated as "Old Maid or Spinster"


This morning it occurred to me that the term “advanced maternal age” is as outdated as the term “old maid or spinster.” In the medical community, if a woman gives birth over age 35, the physician will most likely write on her chart Advanced Maternal Age.

I compare this similar to the term “spinster or old maid” as a check box selection under marital status of an important document. Spinster or old maid is defined as an offensive term for a woman who has remained single beyond the conventional age for marrying.

According to resources that I have found, the advanced maternal age term was coined over 30 years ago. Needless to write, things have changed over the last 30 years. Women are continuing their education and career longer, marrying later and giving birth later. Women have made major impacts on all levels of society. In the United States, we have even had a female as a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.

While it is true that some women experience complications in pregnancy after 35, it is equally true that most women can experience a healthy pregnancy after age 35. (See my article You Can Have a Healthy Pregnancy after 35). 

Medical experts now agree “age alone does not predict risk, but several lifestyle factors, such as family history, socioeconomics, and demographics have major impacts on the well-being of the mother and infant.”

I give the medical community credit for not using the following terms as frequently to refer to women giving birth over 35: mature primigravida. elderly primigravida, elderly parturient, post-mature and obstetrically senescent. Considering that more women are giving birth for the first time after age 35 than ever, we need a more modern term, a less dated term, a "makeover" term. Let's see, I prefer the term that I coined when I gave birth to my first and second child in my early and mid 40s: InSeason Mom!

About the Author of This Blog Post
Cynthia Wilson James got married for the first time at age 40, conceived without assisted medical technology, gave birth at age 42 to a healthy baby girl and gave birth a second time at age 44 to another healthy girl.

She is a firm believer that there are different seasons in every person's life. Cynthia says the key is never allowing another person's season to determine where you should be in your season of life. 

Cynthia, who has a degree in Communications, is a childbirth educator and founder of InSeason Mom(www.inseasonmom.org), which has been recognized by CBS New York as one of the best resources for first time moms over 35. She provides support to first time moms over 35 and 40.


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