Homebirths for mothers 35+ - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 33 Old 01-28-2011, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi! I have been reading Mothering magazine for almost 2 years now and I am new to the MDC. I am proud to say that I gave birth at home to my beautiful 15 month old son October 2009. It was an experience that I will treasure. However, i would like to have another child and homebirth. I am 36 years old. As we all know, there are many reports out there about older mothers and pregnancy/birthing complications. Does anyone who had a homebirth at age 35+ have a story they can share?

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#2 of 33 Old 02-10-2011, 08:21 PM
 
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I haven't had my homebirth yet, it will be next month.  I am 37 and expecting #2.  From my understanding (very limited), the primary issue with mothers > 35 is chromosomal, namely Downs Syndrome (which is really at greater risk after age 40).  I don't think it would have any effect on labor and delivery - I have never seen maternal age or Downs as high-risk reasons when homebirth would not be recommended.  Eat a healthy diet, exercise and take care of yourself and that will go a long way.

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#3 of 33 Old 02-11-2011, 06:18 AM
 
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I'm very much an 'age is just a number' person. I'm in my mid-30s and we are planning an unassisted birth. I think it's ridiculous that a few months makes a difference between whether I am considered 'low-risk' or 'advanced maternal age'. I think lifestyle is way more important than age -- diet, exercise level, stress level, emotional stability, health history, health of previous pregnancies,  and so on.

 

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#4 of 33 Old 02-11-2011, 08:18 AM
 
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I had my homebirth with baby #3 at 38 years old.  I did do shadow care with a hospital based mw/ob practice until 36 weeks, because my first was born at 34 weeks, and I wanted a hospital relationship in case I wound up there again.  I was so very glad to see the last of them at 36 weeks!

 

My CPM, who is also a good friend, was great.  As nurturing as I needed, and as hands off as I wanted.

 

In the end, it turned out to be my longest pregnancy (41w2d), which drove me crazy at the time, since I was used to babies coming before their edds.  The birth was smooth as silk, and it was great to be home without having to be anxious over when to leave for the hospital (not too early and not too late - arrrgggh!), and not to have to worry about what to do with the older kids.

 

My 4 y/o DS cut his brother's umbilical cord, which he still thinks is very cool.  My mom was here to watch her grandbaby be born.  My dad and his wife arrived later that day, and he still is awestruck at the whole thing.

 

My age NEVER EVER was a factor in any discussion, except for the one early on with the hospital based group, in which one mw tried to scare me into getting the full gamut of tests.  Thankfully one of the other midwives interjected and asked me, simply, would any of my actions or decision change as a result of test results.  When I responded that they would not, she supported me and said that getting the tests would be a waste of my time and money.

 

Over 35 is not really elderly!  A mom that eats right and exercises at 25 is probably a lot healthier and can grow a healthier baby than a much younger mom who makes poor nutritional and lifestyle choices.

 

 

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#5 of 33 Old 02-11-2011, 05:47 PM
 
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I had a baby in October of '09 and will have another homebirth this June, one month before I turn 36. My midwives haven't mentioned my age even one time. Honestly, neither have I. 


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#6 of 33 Old 02-13-2011, 06:40 AM
 
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Hi! I'm 38 and pregnant with my 3rd. This will be my first homebirth. I know what you read says that mothers over 35 are not good candidates for a homebirth. However, my midwives have said my age is not a concern. As long as I am healthy and the pregnancy is healthy, there is nothing to be concerned about. 

 

Hope that helps!

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#7 of 33 Old 02-13-2011, 06:51 AM
 
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I had a HBAC at 38.  My midwife didn't even mention it and the birth was perfect.  Best wishes to you!


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#8 of 33 Old 02-14-2011, 07:26 PM
 
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I had my first homebirth (2nd child) at 36.  I did shadow care with our family doctor (who also delivered dd1) mainly because I had severe hyperemesis for the first 4 months and his only concern about my "advanced maternal age" and homebirth was greater chance of postpardum hemorage and the midwife's ability to handle a pph.  My midwife's main concern was that I was healthy regardless of my age.  Once I was over the hyperemesis, I was healthy and had a great homebirth.  I did have some excessive bleeding during the birth (about 1000 cc of blood)  but it was quickly brought under control right after the birth - my midwife was great!


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#9 of 33 Old 02-15-2011, 10:01 AM
 
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I'll be 36 with this one, planning a HBAC in May/June.  The only thing that came up due to age was a suggestion to do screening for Downs.  I even asked if there were any additional cautions based on my age and was told "you're not old".  :)

 

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#10 of 33 Old 02-15-2011, 10:20 AM
 
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My first child was born at home when I was 34.  I did have a bit of a "complication" (retained urine) but it didn't have anything to do with my age.  It was a very uneventful pregnancy and would have been a typical birth had the urine retention been noticed earlier.  I'll be almost 38 when we have our second home birth.  Age has not come up with my midwife either.  I also have a friend who had a VBAC at home, I think she is 35 or 36, and her baby has Down Syndrome.  Her home birth was picture perfect and she got a couple of hours with the baby before they dived into the wild hospital ride that came after.  I could list many other friends who are my same age who had home births in the last year, one of whom was 40, we had a bit of a baby boom.  ROTFLMAO.gif  Like someone else said, the age is really just a number and the pregnancy has to be taken as it presents itself.


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#11 of 33 Old 02-16-2011, 02:58 PM
 
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Evidently the risks are not just chromosomal -- they include:

 

high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and stillbirth. Also, they are more likely to have complications during labor such as preeclampsia, placental abruption or placenta previa. 

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#12 of 33 Old 02-16-2011, 04:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane92 View Post

Evidently the risks are not just chromosomal -- they include:

 

high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and stillbirth. Also, they are more likely to have complications during labor such as preeclampsia, placental abruption or placenta previa. 



Do you have any sources for these, and do you know if those sources separate first-time moms from moms of more than one? In addition, do you know if placental abruption and high blood pressure are linked, as I've heard suggestions that they may be. In any case, the first two aren't really relevant, as they can be tested for, and if the mom doesn't have them, then she doesn't have them, whether she's 35, 20 or 45.

 

I'm especially interested in links re: the placenta previa as I haven't come across that one before.


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#13 of 33 Old 02-16-2011, 06:06 PM
 
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The midwife group I used only attended births for women 18-35 years old, but there are many midwives who will accept clients of all ages.

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#14 of 33 Old 02-16-2011, 06:19 PM
 
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I was 35 and 11months when I had my HB. As long as your pregnancy is healthy and you have the right support you should do fine. You can always transfer at any time if you feel the need. A good midwife will know if it is needed. I labored for 36 hours at home and ended up having to transfer because ds was so big (10lbs!!!) and he did have some decels. It had nothing to do with my age. Even though he crossed over to this world in a hospital, I still consider myself a homebirther. The experience of being at home throughout the entire labor was amazing and a beautiful experience. Yay for the mid 30's!!!!!! 


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#15 of 33 Old 02-16-2011, 06:24 PM
 
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I was 39 AND strep B positive, and had a beautiful, healthy homebirth. It was the best decision I have ever made. Age was never mentioned as an issue.

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#16 of 33 Old 02-19-2011, 10:47 AM
 
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I was almost 35 when I gave birth to my 10th at home, easy peasy HB, actually unassisted. My 11th will be another HB/UC/VBAC this June. I will be 37 1/2 :)

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#17 of 33 Old 02-20-2011, 08:46 AM
 
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I'm 38 and don't expect I'll have trouble with most of that list this time around.  This will be my first and last homebirth.  I'm excited!  I'm at the perfect age for this transformational experience.


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#18 of 33 Old 02-20-2011, 10:56 PM
 
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I was 38 and 41  with my last two children and  gave birth to them at home (as I did with the older 2 also). My age was not a problem for me.  I felt deep inside of myself that my health was very good;  enjoyed my pregnancies;  and hold precious memories of the births.  It probably was a tremendous help that I had been a midwife for so many years - I could answer my own questions in the middle of the night. lol.  Really, the questions were more from other people ~ just a few, who felt I was really over the hill you know....and you know, I could easily out-walk/hike, out-ride, out-squat, out-sled/ice skate, out-dig, out-spit, out-stay-up-all-night-working, etc. all of 'em.   Now I'm over 55......and with glee took my turn sledding in the dark this winter the hill my son spritzed down with water to slick it up some.  It is all about how we choose ~ to live and trust....or not.

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#19 of 33 Old 03-15-2011, 10:46 PM
 
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I was 37 with my son's HB.  No problem, quick labor too!


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#20 of 33 Old 03-16-2011, 09:12 AM
 
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I will be 27 weeks tomorrow. Things are going swimmingly w/ myself and baby overall. Baby seems to be growing nicely and I think the baby is a boy and will be bigger. I am still exercising briskly, I feel it is helping me w/ my SI joint pain I have had in all my pregnancies. I am enjoying baby's movements as well, such a amazing feeling!

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#21 of 33 Old 03-22-2011, 04:34 AM
 
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Age 44 here-  due 10 days before I turn 45- 6th baby- had them all at home- easy births and baby prior to this one born when I was 38

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#22 of 33 Old 03-24-2011, 01:48 PM
 
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I had a homebirth when i was 41. My age didnt make a difference at that time.  

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#23 of 33 Old 06-02-2011, 04:32 PM
 
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The oldest client that I have had was 48 yrs old & expecting her 6th. I've had quite a number of clients over the age of 40, no problems. The risk for chromosomal defects is higher.

Karen Benfield, CNM & owner of BirthTender, a homebirth CNM practice near Hickory, NC

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#24 of 33 Old 06-12-2011, 06:59 PM
 
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My doctor suggested I not have a home birth with my 3rd when I was 35 (although very supportive of using a midwife).  When I talked to the midwives, they were fine with me having a home birth as I had not had any issues with my previous two births.  It turned out to be my best birth of the three.  My first two were born in hospital.  I will always remember this birth.  It was an amazing experience. 


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#25 of 33 Old 06-12-2011, 07:38 PM
 
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My mom had 8 children, 7 at home, and 3 after 35 at home. She never had any complications that warranted hospital care. Her labors actually went really well save for two of them, which were before 35 (and they were just prolonged, not anything more than that).

 

ETA, her last three were born at 37, 38, and 40.


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#26 of 33 Old 06-12-2011, 10:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane92 View Post

Evidently the risks are not just chromosomal -- they include:

 

high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and stillbirth. Also, they are more likely to have complications during labor such as preeclampsia, placental abruption or placenta previa. 


Even when certain risks are statistically higher for women over 35, the treatment is always the same - transfer to the hospital. The vast majority of cases of the above-mentioned issues are diagnosed long before labor starts.

 

 


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#27 of 33 Old 06-13-2011, 09:36 AM
 
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I just had my11th baby, 9th HB, 8th UC at 37 eleven days ago. I had an easy pregnancy, complication free delivery. I have had thee born after magical "35".

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#28 of 33 Old 06-13-2011, 09:54 AM
 
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I was 40 with my last HB ...id love to have more - (but DH isnt on the same page as i am about more children.)

My midwife's oldest client at home was 48..   Age IS just a number!


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#29 of 33 Old 06-14-2011, 01:28 PM
 
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 Sorry cant get the quoting system to work here, but i would love some answers! I hope you have the patience to wade through my post :-)

 

Quote:
<<<<Originally Posted by Jane92 View Post

Evidently the risks are not just chromosomal -- they include:

high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and stillbirth. Also, they are more likely to have complications during labor such as preeclampsia, placental abruption or placenta previa. >>>

End Quote

 


High blood pressure
Isnt this connected more to the general health of the woman than her age? Isnt it also monitored during prenatal care and monitorable during a homebirth? I never had problems with high blood pressure when I was 38 and 41. Im 44 now though. My health still seems to be pretty good. (you have to be reasonably healthy to get pregnant when you are older. Did you know studies have shown women who conceive naturally and carry to term after the age of 44 are more likely to live to 100?)


Gestational diabetes
Again, related more to general health than age, and monitorable prior to birth.


Stillbirth
Is still birth more likely in a woman purely because she is older, ie, although she has managed to conceive , and carry to term a baby, something somehow gives out, and causes her baby to  die at the last minute? What exactly is that? Is the  statistical increase in stillbirth  connected more to the fact that the baby already had an underlying condition, diagnosable at the 20 week ultrasound, with the option to terminate? Maybe some women choose not to terminate ( I wouldnt) We know that the risk of chromosomal disorders increases with age, is this why there is an increase in stillbirth? I would like that clarified.

Preeclampsia
Again, related to general health, and diagnosable before birth. Is there a reason, aside form general health, that an older woman would develop pre eclampsia during birth?


Placental Abruption
weaker uterus, weaker placenta, I don’t know. What is the cause behind this in an older woman? Perhaps this is the one true risk for an older woman. I know that the ovaries produce progesterone for the first 8-10 weeks of the pregnancy, after this the placenta takes over. The placenta is formed by the fertilized sperm and egg, and is therefore only as old as the embryo, ie by term, about 9 months old.  This is true for all women. I would love this to be clarified.  

Placenta previa
is this a true age related risk, or is it just  more likely in an ivf pregnancy, which is more likely in an older woman? Why should the placenta float down to cover the cervix just because a woman is older?


I would love answers to these questions, I didn’t worry too much at 38 and 41. But now at 44, I wonder if there are any true higher risks to  this age group. (ie over 42) I did wonder at  first if my aging ovaries would give out on the progesterone before  8 weeks, but the old girls have kept up pretty well so far.

Im especially interested to hear from midwives who attended births in women older than 42.

The reason I feel more cautious now than I did in previous pregnancies is that it took me longer to conceive this time. This reflects lower egg quality (I guess, but have no proof), and therefore might lead to lower quality embryo and placenta, leading to complications at birth if I get that far.
 

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#30 of 33 Old 06-15-2011, 12:50 PM
 
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I just had a home birth at 36.  No additional risks were brought up in my prenatal care and nothing went wrong during the birth.  I'm a VBAC as well (the indication for my c/s was breech).  I think I made a comment about my age at one point, and the midwife said "but you aren't old".  

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