Last week, Entertainment Tonight reported that Janet Jackson, who will turn 50 in May, is pregnant with her first infant.
While there’s no official verification from the pop starring, she did hint at a possible pregnancy in a cryptic video posted to Twitter 😛 TAGEND
My husband and I are scheming our family, so I’m going to have to delay the tour. Please, if you can try and understand that it’s important that I do this now. I have to rest up, doctor’s orders. But I have not forgotten about you. I will continue the tour as soon as I possibly can.
If Jackson is indeed pregnant, she’s joining a growing group: Pregnancies among older mothers are on the rise in the United States. Between 2000 and 2014, the proportion of first births to mothers between the ages 30 and 34 rose the most of any group, followed by births to moms over 35.
Still, births to women in their 50 s are relatively rare. In 2012 there were 600 births to women aged 50 and older, up from 585 births in 2011.
That’s not to say women in their late 40 s and 50 s can’t conceive, but it’s very difficult to stay pregnant at that age.
“Basically, the health risks of miscarriage goes up substantially as you get older, ” Amy Bryant, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina, told The Huffington Post.
What’s more, having a baby in your 50 s usually requires relying on a donor egg, or, at the very least, fertility treatments.
“There’s a very small percentage of women who get pregnant naturally at that late hour, ” she told. “It is possible, it’s simply not likely to happen.”
Here’s what you need to know about pregnancy in your 40 s, 50 s and beyond 😛 TAGEND
Pregnancies in middle age are risky
The quality of a woman’s eggs decreases with age, so the children of the individuals who do get pregnant at this stage of life are at a higher risk for chromosomal abnormalities, which can cause birth defect.
Women who rely on donor eggs and use hormones to support the pregnancy may fare better, since the age-related hazard is the same as the age of the egg donor, who is typically between the ages of 21 and 35, according to the New York State Health Department.
That told, using donor eggs doesn’t protect older mothers from age-related pregnancy complications, such as high blood pressure during pregnancy, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, health risks of which increase with age.
Other big hazards are stillbirth and miscarriage. Thirty-five-year-old women have a 20 percent risk of miscarriage, according to the Mayo Clinic, and that risk doublings to 40 percent by age 40. And for 45 -year-olds, the miscarriage rate is a full 80 percent.
Still, forty-somethings shouldn’t ditch their birth control
Just because a 45 -year-old woman isn’t likely to conceive doesn’t entail she should forgo family planning, Bryant cautioned.
“People who are interested in avoiding pregnancy should use effective contraception through menopause, ” she said. While unplanned pregnancies are surely a risk, another big risk is miscarriage. While it’s rare to have complications from a complete miscarriage, if any tissue or placenta remains in the uterus it can cause serious infection necessitating immediate medical attention, according to the National Institute of Health.
And in addition to the heartache and complications of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancies, in which the fertilized egg implants somewhere outside of the uterus, are more common among older women.
“Avoiding getting yourself into that situation in the first place is worthwhile, ” Bryant said.
Celebrity pregnancies foster an unrealistic view of fertility
Not all women have a clearsighted outlook on their fertility. Indeed, Bryant has considered women who have unrealistic expectations about their ability to get pregnant in their early- or mid-4 0s.
“Celebrities surely do impact people’s perceptions of things, ” Bryant told. “I suppose people run, ‘Oh, well if Janet Jackson could do this, why can’t I? ‘”
Celebrity moms who had successful pregnancies over the age of 45 include Kelly Preston, Halle Berry, and Beverly D’Angelo.
But females can have wildly different health and fitness levels, who are capable of drastically affect their fertility. For example, a 50 -year-old woman with diabetes and obesity is highly unlikely to have a normal pregnancy, even if she’s ovulating every month.
Beyond health and fertility, many females don’t have the celebrity-caliber resources required to pay for a late-in-life pregnancy, which might require pricey donor eggs or multiple fertility treatments.
Still, improved reproductive technology and a culture shift toward women having babies at a later age has minimized the stigma surrounding older moms.
“We now don’t consider 40 years old to be that old, ” Bryant said. “Certainly girls over 35 have babies all time.”
Read more: www.huffingtonpost.com