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What are the risks of pregnancy after 35?
By Craig L. Bissinger
Kelly Springfield, MO
Women without medical problems can safely carry a baby at any age. This doesn't mean a 60-year-old should go out and buy an EPT test, but a healthy woman shouldn't hesitate to consider getting pregnant.

The central issue revolves around the baby. It is well known that the older a woman is, the greater her chances are of having a child with a chromosome problem. The risk is small but so is the risk of detecting such a problem, performing an amniocentesis. As an example, a 35 year-old woman has a 1/200 chance of having a child with a genetic problem. The risk of losing the baby associated with an amniocentesis is also 1/200. Therefore, the risk and benefits are equal. Hence, we have created a magic barrier at 35 years of age.

The following table gives you an idea of the gradual increased risk of having a baby with a chromosome problem.

I prefer to accent the positive: I'll tell a 37-year-old prospective mom that she has a 129/130 chance of having a healthy child.