Pregnancy After Age 35

It’s a myth that being 35 or older means your pregnancy will be high risk. But women with pre-existing health problems may be at risk for complications during pregnancy. Making the right choices now and working with your healthcare provider can help make your pregnancy healthy for both you and your baby.

Things to think about

Most women who are 35 or older have normal pregnancies. But there are some things to think about before getting pregnant. Once a woman reaches 35, she has a greater chance for:

  • Problems getting pregnant

  • Miscarriage

  • Fertilized egg grows outside the uterus (ectopic pregnancy) 

  • Stillbirth

  • Diabetes or high blood pressure while pregnant

  • Being tired all the time when pregnant

  • C-section delivery

  • Having babies with genetic problems, such as Down syndrome

  • Being pregnant with 2 or more babies

  • Premature baby

  • Death

Making the right choices

Before and after you become pregnant:

  • Don’t use illegal drugs.

  • Don’t drink alcohol.

  • Don’t smoke.

Keeping you and your baby healthy

Before and during your pregnancy:

  • Take 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid.

  • Stay physically active.

  • Keep a healthy weight.

  • Stay away from harmful substances in your home or workplace.

You may need extra care if you have any of these:

  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

  • Diabetes

  • High blood pressure

  • Other chronic health problems

Special healthcare

  • Fertility counseling. As women age, it can be harder to get pregnant. Ask your healthcare provider how long you should try to get pregnant before seeing a specialist.

  • Genetic counseling. This helps evaluate the risk for birth defects in your baby. You will be asked detailed questions about your family health history. You may also have medical tests.

  • Amniocentesis. This test studies the fluid around your unborn baby (amniotic fluid). It can help diagnose birth defects and other health problems.

Online Medical Reviewer: Daniel N Sacks MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Donna Freeborn PhD CNM FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: Heather Trevino
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2020
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