35 answers

Is 46 Too Old to Have a Baby?

My best friend from growing up called in a panic as she is pregant at age 46. Not far along and she's obviously shocked. She already had thought she was hitting menopause... She has two other children who are 7 and 9 so there would be a big age gap, nevermind her age. Her husband is pushing 50. They are ok financially but not in great shape and most of the burden will be on her as she has the much more solid job, earns more money and of course the mother always seems to have more responsibility. At her age, the risk of miscarriage is fairly high so maybe this will be a moot point but what would you do? The risks for a healthy baby are not horrible but also not great. Age of father contributes to the incidence of maybe autism and definitely schyzophrenia, the latter is very prevalent in her husband's family and another family member of his is bipolar. Risk of mental illness in this family seem very very high so it's not an average situation. They actually didn't know how high the risks were when they had their 1st two children. In addition, her deliveries were very very difficult and a 3rd birth likely means a C section hysterectomy. Her eggs also likley aren't all that healthy given her age. Risk of a premature birth also seem high. She's not anti abortion but still wonders. She also worries though that the strain will be too much for her marriage. It's already not the greatest and she thinks the stress of a baby when also trying to be a good mother to her older children and work full time will be too much. Her husband is ok but I remember for years the fights they'd have when her kids were young and she'd call crying bc he didn't help that much. I was sure they'd get a divorce. Then she wonders if they make it through the baby years, will this child also be mentally ill? Any words of wisdom I can pass along? Would you have a baby this old and with such a big gap that the child will grow up almost an only child? She worries the child will almost be embarrassed at such old parents vs his/her friends. And she wasn't a young mother to begin with. This just seems really really old. I personally did have an abortion and have never regretted it. I had age on my side but wasn't married though so a different equation here. I do think she will be very unhappy if she has the child though - love him/her of course but stressed and kind of bitter. Her husband will be about 70 when this child is 20 and he is not particularly healthy himself already.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

oh - she also said, not expecting this, she's been drinking some alcohol, taking ibuprophen for headaches a lot and some OTC sleepaids. That worries her.

I think her husband isn't sure yet. He was ok with more kids years ago but now feels too old too. As well, she said he is very worried about the mental illness factor after seeing what it's done to his family. He doesn't want the child going through it either or himself or his born children but it's not a 100% chance it'd happen. If it could be determined ahead of tiem, he would definitely want to terminate the pregnancy.

Jsut looked and risk of some kind of genetic issue including but not limited to Downes is 6%, not 2%. 94% chance no problem though this doesn't include the risk of schyzophrenia and/or bipolar. GIven his family history, schyzophrenia seems to be a big risk.

Featured Answers

You were very detailed about the woman's history/family/husband etc. about their life.
Gosh, lots on their plate to "worry" about.
Who knows.
Things like this are not predictable.

All I know is, I have a friend that had her 2nd child at 46 years old.
It was a normal pregnancy, normal birth, her child was born totally normal and healthy and there were no complications. At all.
Her child is now like 7 years old. And she and her Husband are fine parents. And her children are fine and loved, children.
They are a close family. And it has never been a problem.
Their marriage is and has always been stable, however. And their careers.

5 moms found this helpful

You don't know if the baby will have any problems, mental or physical, and you don't know if she will carry the baby to term, if it will be born C-Section or not, if they will fight again, or anything at all really. I have a friend who had her last at 42 and she's now helping with tons of grandchildren and doing just great. I babysat grandchildren, one full time near age 60 and now babysit occasionally with them and it makes me feel younger. I know I'm not taking care of them full time like a mother but being around them makes me feel younger and keeps me busy and active so unless there is a major health issue that she'll feel worse of unable she should feel great with a baby. The only option if it was myself would be to have the baby and see what they are blessed with. She should go a day at a time. And shame on any child who is embarrassed by his parents no matter what age they are.

4 moms found this helpful

Yikes, I am 46 and it is too old for me. I have a bit different perspective though: my daughter is 19 and in her second year of college, I work in prenatal genetic testing, I am divorced and so I have done everything I can on this planet to keep my daughter an oly child.

Maybe I am selfish but I am seriously enjoying life way too much to start over at this point. I love my job, traveling and having an adut daughter.

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I had my FIRST child at 47!! Easy pregnancy, c-sec, healthy baby that is now almost 4.

I am exhausted! But the love & laughter my child brings me every day is worth every extra pound, every shade darker the circles under my eyes get and every ugly word I call my husband under my breath!

Being a "Mature Mom" is great!

9 moms found this helpful

My younger brother was born to my mom when she was 35, and my dad was 34. He has schizophrenia, but I can't imagine not having him in my life. Mental illness doesn't make someone less of a person or less worthy of having a life. It is a challenge, but it is treatable, and I love my brother with my whole heart. My brother has a heart of pure gold and would do anything for anyone.

7 moms found this helpful

Forty-six is not too old to have a baby! Most people are much more prepared to have a baby at 46 then they would have been at 26, or even 36. My mother was 46 (and dad 52) when I was born, and my siblings were 14 and 16 years older than I was. It wasn't that common in 1970, but today most women around here don't start having kids until they are 35, and lots are having them into their late 40's. Anyway, I had the best of all worlds. I was sort of an only child so I received lots of attention, but I had older siblings who doted on me. I was never "embarrassed" by my parents age. I figured my parents were much wiser than all of my friends parents:) My parents were also much more financially stable than many of the younger parents of my friends. It sounds as though you friend has quite a few issues that might make this pregnancy difficult, but age seems to be the least of her worries.

7 moms found this helpful

Today there is so much advanced medicine it seems selfish to not have baby. Everyone has a choice, a choice to use birth control for instance. Abortion seems very, very selfish. My third child was unplanned and birth control failed. I kept her even after others suggested abortion.

Sorry if I offend anyone, my stance is life is life no matter the state. Best wishes to your friend.

7 moms found this helpful

Umm, I must humbly disagree with "there's nothing your friend can do now." We all know what she can do. If I were her, I would probably lean that way. But, this is obviously an intensely personal and difficult decision. As her friend, just give her love and support whichever way she decides to go.

5 moms found this helpful

Wow, almost everything that could possibly be found to be "wrong" with this pregnancy has been thrown into the mix.

Advanced maternal age.
More advanced paternal age.
History of mental illness in the family.
Moderate age gap between siblings.
Poor finances.
Baby years affected marriage poorly before.
Unstable marriage.
Worries about Autism.
Worries about schizophrenia.
Worries about Bi-Polar.
Very difficult previous pregnancies.
Likelihood of c-section AND radical hysterectomy.
Assumed "unhealthy eggs" due to advanced maternal age.
High risk of premature birth.
Previous pregnancies were a huge strain on marriage; worried this one will be too.
The word "abortion" was thrown around a few times, but neither parent seems to want it unless they could see into the future and whether or not the child would be a burden with a mental illness, Autism, or Down Syndrome.

Did I get everything? Because that was long and confusing.

Your "friend" and her husband can welcome a baby no matter their situation if they're committed to the pregnancy, the baby, and their family. They fake it 'til they make it. Life is full of challenges every single day and we get through them or else we... what... curl up in a corner and shrivel up and die? Give up? Choose to go through life looking at everything as negatively as possible?

What your friend needs is a good high risk obstetrician. They can talk to her about the OTC meds she's taken and the drinks that she's had, none of which have likely affected the baby as long as she has abstained since she found out about the pregnancy.

She also needs a counselor/therapist/psychiatrist to help her through the pregnancy and with any stressful issues that may arise. It's possible that she suffered from pregnancy depression before and/or post partum depression and never had either treated, so this would be a good time to get a head start on treatment and learning coping skills for the stress.

5 moms found this helpful

Its not too old at all. Tell her she can take the maternit21 test at 11 weeks. It is diagnostic. It will even tell her the sex.

I'm 40 and having my third. I don't think of this as old at all. In fact, I know lots of 44,45, and even one 48 year olds that had babies. Perfectly healthy babies. Yes, it's more exhausting, but her older kids are old enough to help out. They will love their sibling and this baby will be a blessing, if they let it be.

5 moms found this helpful

You were very detailed about the woman's history/family/husband etc. about their life.
Gosh, lots on their plate to "worry" about.
Who knows.
Things like this are not predictable.

All I know is, I have a friend that had her 2nd child at 46 years old.
It was a normal pregnancy, normal birth, her child was born totally normal and healthy and there were no complications. At all.
Her child is now like 7 years old. And she and her Husband are fine parents. And her children are fine and loved, children.
They are a close family. And it has never been a problem.
Their marriage is and has always been stable, however. And their careers.

5 moms found this helpful

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.