Children ages a woman

Late pregnancy - happy motherhood from 40

Pregnancy | Complications | Investigations

For a wide variety of reasons, more and more women are only now fulfilling their desire to have children after the age of 35 or even 40. From a medical point of view, there is absolutely no reason to advise women against pregnancy on the basis of their age alone.

What are the chances of getting pregnant?

The fact is: the chance that it "hits" within a cycle decreases drastically with age. A 20 to 25 year old has a statistical chance of pregnancy of 30% per cycle. 80% of these young women become pregnant within a year, and 10% after another six months.

Statistically speaking, the highest pregnancy rate is reached at the age of 27.

From the age of 35 at the latest, the chance worsens dramatically every year. For a woman over 40 it is only 10% per year, after the age of 45 it is only 2-3%.


Expert interview with Annette Wirthlin: Bye bye baby?

More frequent miscarriages and complications

Older pregnant women should also be aware that not only will it make it harder to get pregnant, but it will also make it harder to carry one to term successfully. The Risk of miscarriage gets bigger with increasing age. A 40 year old pregnant woman is twice as likely to have a miscarriage as a 20 year old.

Studies have also shown that certain complications occur somewhat more frequently in older pregnant women (e.g. premature births, preeclampsia, uterine fibroids and placental disorders), but that these are usually manageable with good prenatal care. Basically it is State of health of the expectant mother essential for the smooth running of a pregnancy more important than their age.

More health awareness

At the same time, however, many experts are convinced that older pregnant women take better care of their own health and that of the unborn child, that they eat more consciously and keep fit. In addition, they put on average in Dealing with risk factors (such as smoking, alcohol consumption and substance abuse) adopt a more responsible attitude towards the day than young pregnant women.

The risk of certain chromosomal disorders increases

In principle, mothers over 30 years of age have a slightly higher rate, and those aged 40 and over have a higher rate increased risk of a child's chromosomal disorder. But nowadays you can with Ultrasound and other screening examinations assess the risk of such disorders in early pregnancy or with a prenatal diagnostic examination, e.g. a chorionic biopsy.

Only a small proportion of all children with chromosomal abnormalities can live to term; most of them die in the course of pregnancy due to their severe disability. The most common and mildest chromosomal disorder, the Trisomy 21 or Down syndrome, this is the case in about half of all fetuses, the other half is viable.

The likelihood of a child with Down syndrome being born alive is

  • at the age of 20: 1: 1500 (0.06%)
  • at the age of 25: 1: 1350 (0.075%)
  • with 30 years: 1: 900 (0.11%)
  • with 32 years: 1: 700 (0.14%)
  • with 34 years: 1: 500 (0.2%)
  • at the age of 35: 1: 360 (0.27%)
  • with 36 years: 1: 300 (0.33%)
  • with 38 years: 1: 200 (0.5%)
  • with 40 years: 1: 100 (1%)
  • with 42 years: 1:65 (1.5%)
  • at the age of 44: 1:37 (2.7%)
  • at the age of 46: 1:21 (4.8%).

This is decisive for the calculation Age of mother at birth of child.

All of this will be discussed with you during the check-ups and you may be offered genetic counseling if you need more detailed information to make a decision.

Frequently asked questions on the topic

In fact, personal factors such as health and lifestyle are much more important to a good pregnancy outcome than actual age. The best time to become a mother is certainly when the woman and her partner feel mature enough to raise a child.


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If the previous pregnancies and births have gone without complications, this will very likely also be the case with the fourth, fifth and subsequent pregnancies.

Statistically speaking, after several births there is only a slightly increased risk of "irregular child positions", ...

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Almost all people with Down syndrome (formerly incorrectly called Mongolism) have a so-called "free trisomy 21", which arose purely by chance. In such cases there is no increased risk of recurrence in further relatives, and invasive prenatal diagnostics are ...

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Does paternal age also play a role?

A man can constantly reproduce sperm and thus father children into old age - in contrast to women, whose egg cells are as old as they are. Nevertheless, this is not quite as problem-free as it looks. The stem cells that produce the sperm have already undergone around 600 cell divisions in a 50-year-old man. So they have already aged, and with each further division the risk of increasing Mutations, i.e. punctual defects in the genome, which can cause various diseases, such as skeletal malformations. Therefore are allowed to Sperm donor in most countries not older than 40 years.

And there are probably other effects of paternal age on pregnancy and the child. Premature babies and children with low birth weights should be more common in fathers over 45. The risk to the woman, one Gestational diabetes development increases by 28 percent for a father between the ages of 45 and 54 and by 34 percent for a man aged 55 and over. The good news: the risk of the serious pregnancy complications preeclampsia and eclampsia in the mother is not increased with old fathers.

According to a Swedish study, brain tumors and blood cancer are also said to be more common if the child was conceived by a father over 50. Other studies report IQ gradients between children of younger and older fathers and an increasing risk of schizophrenia and autism. So far, however, there have been too few research results to prove a clear connection between such genetic diseases in the child and the age of the father.

Link collection "Pregnancy and Childbirth"


If he is older, she will have more children

News ticker

Late mothers live longer | 26.10.2020

Nobody can predict how long our individual life expectancy will be. But researchers from the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) suggest that when the last child is born may play a role. They studied a well-known trait of long-term health and longevity in over 1200 women, namely the length of the telomeres. Each time a cell divides, these chromosome ends get a little shorter. When the telomeres are used up, the cell can no longer divide and dies. In previous studies, a connection between telomere length and various diseases (cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, neurological diseases and cancer) has been established. Current research showed that women who gave birth to their last child later in life had longer telomeres. So far, however, it is still unclear whether the old age of the mother leads to the extension of the telomeres when her child is last born. Conversely, it is also conceivable that women with long telomeres are healthier and fitter and can therefore have children as they get older.

Age matters | 26.11.2019

The proportion of pregnant women with high blood pressure in the United States has increased 13-fold over the past forty years. This is less due to obesity or smoking, but more to age: More and more women would decide to postpone their first pregnancy. According to the study, which appeared in the journal Hypertension, nearly a million women had persistent high blood pressure during their pregnancy. In 1970 it was 0.11 percent of all pregnant women, in 2010 it was 1.52 percent. "We found that mothers older than they became pregnant were more likely to have chronic hypertension," the researchers point out, adding that this could come with some risks and complications and should be monitored closely.

First the career? | 19.01.2019

Women in industrialized countries such as Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan give birth to their children at an increasingly older age and out of wedlock. In these countries, women are now over 30 years old on average when they give birth to their first child, according to the new UN World Population Report. In the 1970s, the average was 24 to 26 years. "Well-educated women try to avoid the economic or professional setbacks often associated with motherhood at a young age," write the authors of the report presented in New York. Reproductive technologies such as artificial insemination would also contribute to this. On the other hand, pregnancies in their late 30s or early 40s are more risky.

News ticker

Late pregnancy protects against uterine cancer: Motherhood after the age of 30 lowers the risk of endometrial cancer in women, as a study from the USA has now found. The risk factors include an early first menopause and late menopause, childlessness and hormone replacement therapy, but also being very overweight and polycystic ovary syndrome. On the other hand, every pregnancy has a protective effect, the later the more. A woman who becomes pregnant again after the age of 40 is 44 percent less likely than a woman who had her last child at the age of 25. (swissmom news ticker 9.8.2012)

The children of older mothers often develop better in the first five years of life: This is the surprising result of a study by scientists from the University College of London. Babies aged nine months and children aged three and five were examined. Weight development, vaccination status, accident frequency and the development of language and social behavior clearly improved the older the mothers were when their babies were born (swissmom-Newsticker 11.9.2012)

More older mothers in Switzerland: According to figures from the Federal Statistical Office, the average age of mothers at the first birth has increased to 30.4 years in the last 10 years. A third of women are over 35 when their first child is born. In 2001 their share was still 22%. Good news: In 2012, a total of 82,200 children were born in Switzerland, 1.7% more than in the previous year. The average number of children per woman increased to 1.52. Swiss women have fewer children (1.43) than foreign women (1.86 on average) (swissmom news ticker 9.8.2013).

Late birth - high life expectancy: There has long been evidence of a positive relationship between the age of a woman when her last child was born and her life expectancy. This has now been proven in the Long Life Family Study of the American National Institute on Aging (NIA) with around 500 women from the USA and Denmark. Participants who were older than 33 years of age when they had their last child were twice as likely to get very old than women who were 29 years old. The researchers calculated that the probability of an exceptionally long life increases by 5% with each year that the women were older when they were last given birth (swissmom Newsticker, 1.8.14).

The 10 most burning questions in pregnancy

Anyone expecting a baby has 1000 questions. We have put together the absolute front runners in a series of pictures. Of course with an answer!

To the questions

Last update: 31-12-20, bra