At the age of 48, Hilary Swank is carrying not just one child, but two.
In an appearance on “Good Morning America” on Wednesday, the actor said, “This is something that I’ve been wanting for a long time.” “My next step is to become a mother.”
According to Dr. Kecia Gaither, who is the director of perinatal services and maternal-fetal medicine at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln in the Bronx and is double board certified in OBGYN and maternal-fetal medicine, having twins and being an older pregnant woman both increase the risk for pregnancy complications.
Complications include gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and preeclampsia are more likely to affect older mothers. Additionally, they have a higher chance of miscarriage, stillbirth, and preterm labor.
Swank is an older mother, but it is still possible for her to deliver twins safely, according to Dr. G. Thomas Ruiz, the OBGYN chief at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.
You can have a healthy baby and mom at 48 years old, according to Ruiz, as long as the patient is willing to comply with everything and has a thorough understanding of the dangers and consequences before becoming pregnant. Simply put, “Mom has more job to do.”
Pregnancies in older women require greater observation.
Ruiz believes Swank is collaborating with a perinatologist who carries a significant level of danger. This is due to the fact that more frequent checkups, including ultrasounds every three to four weeks, are customary for older mothers and those who are carrying multiples.
We are conducting all necessary surveillance in order to remain on top of any problems, according to Ruiz.
Doctors keep a tight eye on a patient’s fluid balance, cervix size, and other indicators of a good pregnancy. In order to avoid preterm labor, Ruiz added, it’s also not unusual for doctors to place pregnant women on modified bed rest throughout the third trimester.
A spontaneous pregnancy at 48 is unlikely
The chances of a 48-year-old getting pregnant without intervention is about 5%, Gaither said. The likelihood of a healthy pregnancy is much less, Ruiz said, since genetic abnormalities in the fetus increase as the mother ages. For example, by the time a pregnant person is 45, their chances of conceiving a fetus with Down syndrome are one in three.
Because genetic abnormalities in the fetus increase the risk of miscarriage, older moms are more likely to miscarry. Interestingly, the odds of naturally conceiving twins increase with age.
Some ways around a few of these complications are freezing eggs or using donor eggs.
People considering older pregnancy should understand the risks
A mother, 51, received her twins directly from Ruiz. Despite the fact that older persons trying to get pregnant are more prevalent, Ruiz likes to make sure his patients are aware of both the chances and the risks. If a person over 45 says they want to get pregnant, he sends them for blood tests and other testing to determine their precise chance of conception.
The physical and emotional toll of a pregnancy at an elderly age, including all the monitoring and possibilities for bed rest, is then openly discussed.
As long as you realize this will be a more challenging pregnancy than when you were 28, we can get you through it safely with the right management and care, he said. “You can navigate it securely,”