A geriatric pregnancy is defined as a pregnancy with an expected gestational age of greater than or equal to 35 years of age, and a birth weight greater than or equal to 400 g (1 lb 13 oz).
The highest prevalence of geriatric pregnancy is in postmenopausal women.
Gestational age refers to the average gestational age of the woman at time of delivery. The shorter gestational age is defined as term and the longer as preterm. A woman is considered to be term if the average gestational age of her previous six consecutive pregnancies was under 37 weeks.Gestational age can be used to predict risk of preterm birth and it is usually measured by maternal urine test.
Women with elevated urine protein concentration above the normal reference range are put on a lower-risk regimen and those with normal urine protein concentration are put on a higher-risk regimen.
The lower-risk regimen is recommended to be followed up with twice-weekly measurements of the mother’s urine protein concentration while the higher-risk regimen is recommended to be followed up with once-weekly measurements of the urine protein concentration. Elective Caesarean delivery or elective vaginal delivery is the safest way to deliver a baby when it is to be delivered before 42 weeks of pregnancy.
Geriatric pregnancy risks
There are several risks associated with pregnant women over the age of 35. These include increased risks of high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, thyroid disease, depression, and miscarriage. In addition, the older a woman gets, the higher her chances of having a difficult labor.
Benefits of a geriatric pregnancy
Geriatric pregnancy can be analyzed by the four Ps (pregnancy, delivery, postnatal period, and pediatric years). The five Ps (premature babies, postnatal period, puerperium, infancy, and childhood) are intertwined into the six Ps (premature, puerperium, puerperal, postnatal, infancy, and childhood).
With the advent of in vitro fertilization, genetic screening and assisted reproductive technology, there has been a shift in the fetus selection. Because of advances in technology, more emphasis has been put on selecting the genetic markers for physical characteristics, for higher intelligence and for good heart and lung capacity. With the approach of physical assessment, the time allotted for normal fetal growth has been reduced.
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in the United States recommends normal fetal growth at 37–39 weeks as it correlates to potential prematurity at birth. This time frame has shrunken to as low as 22–25 weeks, which is close to the age of birth of those living in developed countries.
Advancements in the techniques of birth control and particularly the pill have been a contributing factor. A 2000 survey reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 10.5% of all American women used oral contraceptive pills.
However, women’s age will make it harder for your body to carry your baby, and your pregnancy may have more complications than an older woman’s pregnancy. Some examples of complications from pregnancy in older mothers include:
Preterm labor – Many women develop preterm labor in their 40s. This is a common problem when your uterus is getting older. You may not even realize that you are experiencing contractions, which could be affecting your cervix and causing you to go into preterm labor.
Pregnancy can change a woman’s bones, as well. Women’s bones are actually made of a lot of calcium. After giving birth, a woman’s bones are smaller, so there is less material. This does not cause a problem until your bones become so small that they start to break or you become brittle.
This can happen when you stop having your period or when you take certain medicines. After these happen, you might have a broken bone or osteoporosis. Your doctor will do a bone density test to see if you have this.
Symptoms and preventive measures
Symptoms for geriatric pregnancy
Heavy bleeding or bleeding for more than a few days at a time – Many women have difficulty controlling their menstrual cycle when they are older.
Because your hormones are changing, it may be more difficult to have regular menstrual cycles. If this is happening to you, you may not have any symptoms until you start to bleed heavily. You may also develop light bleeding.
Many women have no symptoms, and may not realize that their periods have gotten heavier than they did when they were younger.
Signs include: Breast cancer – If you are older and you develop a lump in your breast, you should be tested for breast cancer.
Many women think they don’t need to get tested, but getting a mammogram is just as important at any other time in your life. Studies show that the earlier breast cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat. If you think you may have breast cancer, you should talk to your doctor.
Taking a birth control pill or hormone replacement therapy as prescribed. There are many types of birth control pills available, and it’s important to discuss your options with your doctor before you take any pills.
Consider talking to your doctor about changing your birth control pill, as your body can become accustomed to the one you’re currently using.
You may need to switch to a different pill or to go on a hormone therapy treatment if you have the chance to get pregnant.
Although hormone therapy won’t cause your ovaries to stop working, it can reduce your risk of developing ovarian cancer in the future. Quitting smoking and losing weight. These a must be done only if the chances of healthy child birth is very low.