Tuesday, March 11, 2008

3 Myths Debunked About Pregnancy

From my paper, 27 Feb 2008 edition





Myth 1: I’ll be able to conceive anytime.

     This is not always so. Women can experience stress when

getting pregnant, which can affect their ovulation.

     They may also take time to work out their cycles –

which may be irregular – and when the best time to conceive

will be.

     Women on the pill may also assume that they will be able

to conceive straight after stopping it. While 85 per-cent of

women manage to get pregnant within the first year, it can

take longer, so plan ahead.


Myth 2: I’ll be able to have a baby after 35.

     A 2003-2004 survey by the Ministry of Community

Development, Youth and Sports showed that 80 per-cent of

women were not aware of the risks of late pregnancies and

declining fertility with age, while 60 per-cent of women

surveyed thought that assisted reproductive techniques

could help them to conceive at any age.

     High blood pressure, thyroid disease and diabetes are

more common in women in their 30s and 40s than in

younger women. These conditions can seriously affect


     Older women are also more susceptible to pregnancy-induced

hypertension, gestational diabetes, ovarian cysts, endometriosis

(growth of womb lining tissue in pelvic cavity), fibroids, and


     Traditionally, an older mother is defined as one who is

35 years of age or older at her expected date of delivery.

     It is important for her to see an obstetrician early so that

proper follow-up and tests can be performed.


Myth 3: There won’t be any complications if I have

a baby in my late 30s.

As women get older, the chances of a Caesarean section

increases from 20.5 per-cent to 30.4 per-cent after age 35.

     The risk of bearing a child with abnormalities, such as

Down Syndrome, also increases.

     About one in 1,400 babies born from women in their 20s

have Down Syndrome; it increases to one in 100 babies for

mothers in their 40s.

     Stillbirths are also more common in women over age 35,

increasing to 25 per-cent as opposed to 12 to 15 per-cent

in women in their 20s.



Advice from Dr Ann Tan, consultant obstetrician and

gynaecologist at the Women & Fetal Centre at Mount Elizabeth

Medical Centre, Dr Peter Chew, obstetrician and gynaecologist

and chairman of the board of aLife, and Dr Tan Thiam Chye,

obstetrician and gynaecologist at Kadang Kerbau Women and

Children’s Hospital and co-author of The New Art and Science

of Pregnancy and Childbirth.

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