Friday, May 11, 2012

Out To Pasture

I've been really bummed out about turning 35, and it's finally upon me.

I know some people think I'm crazy, because it's not one of the typical milestone birthdays people usually freak out about.  40... that, people understand.

For a woman, though, 35 can be traumatizing.
This is the age where the medical community flat-out tells you "Hey.  You, over there?  YOU are no longer a spring chicken.  You are old.  Your eggs are drying up, and your body's wearing out."

Cheery statistics, these are:

A woman's risk of having a baby with certain birth defects involving chromosomes (the structures in cells that contain genes) increases with age. Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal birth defect. Affected children have varying degrees of intellectual disabilities and physical birth defects. A woman's risk of having a baby with Down syndrome is (1):
  • At age 25, 1 in 1,250
  • At age 30, 1 in 1,000
  • At age 35, 1 in 400
  • At age 40, 1 in 100
  • At 45, 1 in 30
  • At 49, a 1 in 10
Most miscarriages occur in the first trimester for women of all ages. The risk of miscarriage increases with age. Studies suggest that about 10 percent of recognized pregnancies for women in their 20s end in miscarriage (1). The risk rises to (1):
  • About 20 percent at ages 35 to 39
  • About 35 percent at ages 40 to 44
  • More than 50 percent by age 45
Some complications that are more common in women over 35 include:
  • Gestational diabetes: This form of diabetes develops for the first time during pregnancy. Studies suggest that women over age 35 are about twice as likely as younger women to develop gestational diabetes (7, 8). Women with gestational diabetes are more likely to have a very large baby who is at risk of injuries during delivery and of newborn health problems (such as breathing problems).
  • High blood pressure: As with diabetes, high blood pressure can develop for the first time during pregnancy. This is called pregnancy-induced high blood pressure or pregnancy-induced hypertension. In its more severe form, it is called preeclampsia. Some studies have found that pregnancy-induced high blood pressure is more common in women over age 35 (8, 9).
  • Placental problems: The most common placental problem is placenta previa, in which the placenta covers part or all of the uterine opening (cervix). One study found that women in their late 30s were almost twice as likely, and women in their 40s nearly three times as likely, as younger women to have this complication (7). Placenta previa can cause severe bleeding during delivery, which can endanger mother and baby. A cesarean birth (also called c-section) often can prevent serious complications.
  • Premature birth: Women ages 40 and older are more likely than women in their 20s and 30s to deliver prematurely (before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy). From 2003 to 2005, 16.6 percent of women ages 40 and older delivered prematurely, compared to 12.5 percent of women ages 30 to 39, and 11.9 percent of women ages 20 to 29 (10). Premature babies are at increased risk of health problems in the newborn period and of lasting disabilities. Some studies also suggest that women in their 40s may be at increased risk of having a low-birthweight baby (less than 5½ pounds) (7, 8). (Low birthweight can result from premature birth, poor growth before birth or both.)
  • Stillbirth: Stillbirth is the death of the fetus after 20 weeks of pregnancy. A number of studies have found that women over age 40 are about two to three times as likely as women in their 20s to have a stillborn baby (7, 11). The causes of stillbirth in the over-40 age group are not known.

And hey, look... we're even more likely to have autistic children!

Is it any wonder I'm depressed?
I'm not planning on having any more children (and couldn't even if I wanted to), but damn... I definitely feel 'out to pasture' knowing all this.

I guess I should wander off and go look at that AARP brochure... then I think I'll take a break and yell at some kids to get the hell off my lawn.

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