The Risks of Birth Defects When Trying to Conceive After 35

As more women these days are having children later in life than in the past, conception issues relating to women who may be older are questions which are posed much more often. More women these days are establishing themselves in their careers prior to bearing children and therefore the birth rate of children whose mothers are over 35 is increasing as well. If you are over 35 years of age and are thinking about conceiving, you may find yourself asking whether or not there are additional risks relating to birth defects. The general answer to this question is in the affirmative and some of the birth defect risks will be detailed below.

Down Syndrome

One of the more frequently cited birth defects of children born to mothers over the age of 35 is that of Down syndrome. If you are a woman who is 35 years of age, your chances of having a child with Down syndrome is 1:385. Down syndrome is a birth defect which is caused by an additional chromosome being present and can lead to mental retardation and additional physical problems of the child. If you are a woman over the age of 35 and concerned that Down syndrome may be an issue, there are various tests you can take to determine if genetic disorders such as Down syndrome are present. Two tests used to determine this include amniocentesis and chorionic villi sampling.

Other Chromosomal Birth Defects

A woman over the age of 35 is also more likely to have a child with other types of chromosomal birth defects than her younger childbearing counterparts. Although Down syndrome is one of the more well known chromosomal birth defects for women over this age, it is not the only one which can affect the child. If you are concerned with your age and having a child with birth defects, the best thing to do is to discuss your concerns with your gynecologist or obstetrician and learn more about the possibilities.


It is important to note that many women who are over the age of 35 can and do have perfectly healthy babies. You should be informed with regard to birth defect risks so that you have the knowledge yet you shouldn’t unnecessarily worry about birth defects occurring within your child. Regardless of age, women can take necessary steps to help to ensure the health of their baby by abstaining from smoking and drinking alcohol as well as limiting the intake of caffeine. Exercise in moderation is also good for expectant mothers, as it will help the woman to aid not only her body during pregnancy but her mind as well. The previously mentioned medical conditions are just a few different types of health issues which a woman over 35 should inquire with her doctor about to learn more about these birth defects.