More mothers wait until later in their lives to have children, but pregnancy after 50 is still quite rare.
A woman's fertility begins to decrease in her early years & # 39; 30. After the age of 35, her number of viable eggs begins to fall faster.
Women are born with a fixed amount of follicles – between one and two million – or immature eggs.
These develop at different speeds. Some follicles never shed a full egg, but every month the ovaries release one egg to wait for fertilization in the womb.
Most women only ovulate around 450 eggs in the course of their lives, so by the late forties most of them are up and starting towards the menopause.
The menopause starts around the age of 51 for the average woman, at which time pregnancy becomes impossible.
Although fertility among American women (and men) is generally declining, one group has a few more babies than in the past: older women.
The birth rate among women between 45 and 49 – the oldest group that maintains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – rose by 0.1 percent between 2016 and 2017.
In 2013, an estimated 677 American women over the age of 50 give birth, an increase of 370 percent over the 144 of such births in 1977.
So far it is thought that an Indian woman in the 1970s who had a baby boy in 2016 is the oldest to give birth, although a 66-year-old has the official record.
Celebrities have also made headlines because in their later years, including Janet Jackson, who had her son, Eissa Al Mana, at the age of 50.
A growing number of women are choosing to freeze their eggs – which are deteriorating in quality with age – while they are younger, using IVF, surrogates or donor eggs to have children later in life.
But pregnancy after peak fertility can entail risks.
Older women are more likely to develop high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, diabetes and heart problems, so most doctors screen them carefully as they try to conceive.
As women in this age group become pregnant, doctors will keep a close eye on them as a precaution, but they can certainly have a healthy pregnancy, and a growing number are doing exactly that.
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