Geriatric Pregnancy: Are You Calling Me Old?!

We don’t always get a say in how things will happen in our lifetime. The path my life has taken me on is probably a lot different than the path your life has taken you on.  But you know what? That’s okay. That’s what makes the world go-round. 

Growing up, I always thought that you had babies when you were young. Back then, “young” might have been the very early twenties. Not beyond 25, maybe even 30 if I was pushing it. But certainly not 35. Ha. Little did I know.

I was grabbing this year by the horns!
I was engaged to my best friend. Our wedding was 10 days away. My 35th birthday was about 2 months away. I was ready for what the world had to offer in this exciting time! Enter life. I got to thinking about when my last period was, trying to figure out if I was going to be “okay” for my wedding or not because let’s be real, no bride wants to have “aunt Flo” in town on her wedding day.  

geriatric pregnancy

We had this “secret” picture taken on our wedding day to let our little peanut-to-be know she was there.

To pee, or not to pee, that is the question.
Something struck my fancy – maybe it was the late cycle, or unusual tiredness, wild emotions, all easily identifiable “symptoms” of being stressed out from planning a wedding. On my lunch hour, I decided to whip into the local pharmacy and purchase, you got it, a pregnancy test. I hid the test as I went into the house that night, not telling my then-fiancé what I bought. I didn’t want to “scare” him. Worry him. You know, all those things that come with the stress and chaos 10 days before your wedding. I remember that day like it was yesterday: Morning came. I tiredly made my way to the bathroom, “pee stick” in hand. First things first. And this stick was the start of today’s “to-do” list. I prepared to “wait 2 minutes”. There was no waiting 2 minutes for the results. That double line lit up before I could even finish! 

Pure panic.
Not to mention having to go the ENTIRE day without telling my fiancé (because I was not telling him over the phone)! I was going to be a mom, a MOM!  But I was too old. Or, at least I thought I was. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. (say this in your best Tessie voice from “Annie”).

Say what?!
I thought age was just a number. This apparently isn’t the case in pregnancy, or so I found in my Google searches when pregnant.

Now before you start imagining Grandma with a bump, let me explain. Originally the term “geriatric pregnancy” was meant to describe the pregnancy of a woman who was 35 years or older. At some point (probably after being verbally and physically assaulted by hormonal mommies-to-be) the medical community decided to change that term to “advanced maternal age“. This makes me giggle maybe a little more than it should!

Are you kidding?! Because I am 35 years old, my pregnancy is considered a “geriatric pregnancy“?! And let’s be real, being called of advanced maternal age isn’t much better. The jokester that was, and is, my OB/GYN, at least had enough sense in him to not refer to me in either of those terms. But my age was brought up during my many visits and I was okay with it. We talked about how it is becoming more common that women are waiting to have babies, and the concerns from the medical field (gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, pre-term labor, missing chromosomes/birth defects, low birth weight, stillborn, etc.), that come with waiting. My OB/GYN was on board with walking us through all of these concerns and tests that were available, should we want them. We opted out of any testing, aside from our scheduled ultrasounds, because after looking into it more, these concerns can happen to any mom-to-be, at any age.

How old were you when you had your first child?
I took to Facebook not too long ago to conduct a survey of my friends. My friends list consists of 188 people.  The question was posed like this:

How old were you when you have your first child?”

A) 35 – 41 years
B) 28 – 34 years
C) 21 – 27 years
D) 16 – 20 years
E) Other

I learned quite a bit about friends/family asking this question. Though only 29% participated in my survey (about 54 people), I got a feel of what I was looking for from a vast array of people, including 52 women and 2 men. Here is the breakdown in results from my survey:

A) .02% answered as having their first child between the ages of 35 and 41.
B) 47% answered as having their first child between the ages of 28 and 34.
C) 32% answered as having their first child between the ages of 21 and 27.
D) 15% answered as having their first child between the ages of 16 and 20.
E) 6% answered as “other”, be it younger or old, or being “childfree”.

Okay, so I’m not alone in having a child(ren) as “late in life” as I did. However, what my little survey taught me was that I am in the minority as far as my child-rearing years. At least amongst my friends. And I’m okay with that. We are talking about having more babies still. It’s never too late. And with the smooth sailing of our first pregnancy (37 hours of labor with maybe only 1 grueling hour while I waited for my epidural and only TWO pushes), I will say it againit’s never too late. Just make sure you are doing what is best and healthiest for you and your little peanut-to-be.

Do you have any advice you can offer to expectant mama’s who may be looking at more the letter “A” from my survey?


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