Being pregnant at 35 is a major reality check. I would never consider myself “old” but my goodness they call it a geriatric pregnancy. I feel like I’ve got one foot in the nursing home! The second half of my first trimester was surprisingly uneventful but very informative. I had my first OB appointment and we walked through the options I had for genetic testing (if we wanted to do them). The symptoms seem a bit different than the first time around but overall, I’m feeling good! Here is my pregnancy journal weeks 9-13 plus what you should know about pregnancy after 35 and details on genetic testing after 35 and the Counsyl test.
Pregnancy after 35 + Genetic Counsyl Test: Pregnancy Journal Weeks 9-13
My first journal entry ended at week 8 with our first ultrasound appointment and my early (and unpleasant) pregnancy symptoms coming to an end. In case you missed it, you can check out the first installment of my Pregnancy Journal Weeks 4-8 on Spotting + Early Pregnancy Symptoms.
Week 9: First Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms
The second half of the first trimester was pretty uneventful compared to the first half. The biggest change from my previous pregnancies seemed to be my major cravings for sweets and my major bloating. I’m not sure if there is a correlation between the two but I just feel huge already this pregnancy. I’ve not gained more weight than I did at this point with my son but I feel like I look 16 weeks pregnant. Someone, please tell me if this is normal!
I’ve been trying to cut out the sweets a bit more and I’ve been working on eating healthier snacks like ants on a log and carrots but man, I just feel bloated and pregnant ALREADY. I’m mostly worried I’m setting myself up for a tough pregnancy and unnecessary weight gain. It’s something that’s definitely at the forefront of my mind right now. If you have more than one baby, let me know how your pregnancies differed, plus how quickly you were showing and how soon you really felt pregnant.
It probably doesn’t help that it’s the middle of winter and the holiday season and it seems like all we’re doing is eating…
Week 10: Pregnancy After 35
Week 10, the week before Christmas, brought my first OB appointment with my most favorite doctor ever. I want to be her BFF but that seems weird since she KNOWS things, if you get my drift. But it does make our appointments super fun and something both my husband and I look forward to (when he isn’t watching the crazy toddler at home). Well, this time it also brought us a lot of information and a little stress. You see, I’ll be 35 when I give birth and in OB land that’s “old.” So many complications and yucky statistics come with pregnancy at 35.
Pregnancy at 35 Risks and Statistics
Being a good OB, my doctor filled me in on the potential risks so I would be prepared for pregnancy at 35 and taking care of myself as best as possible. For starters, your miscarriage rate goes up to 20% at the age of 35 (and it goes up to 80% at the age of 45!!) which is obviously concerning given my history and previous pregnancy complications and symptoms. I had already had a great ultrasound so I was optimistic about this one.
A few other things I was unaware of, the Down Syndrome risk goes from 1 in 1250 at age 25 to 1 in 400 at age 35 and 1-10 (or 1-30, I’ve heard both) at age 45. Older women are also more likely to develop preeclampsia and placenta previa.
The big one for me was premature births and stillbirths. Pregnancy at 35 also causes premature births before 37 weeks and your chances of having a stillborn baby are higher. No parent should have to go through that, the thought just breaks my heart.
Because I have a bicornuate uterus and this is my second pregnancy, my doctor doesn’t expect me to go full term (even though I went to 40+3 with my son). With the heightened risks of pregnancy at 35, plus my bicornuate uterus complications, and the complications my son had during delivery (cord was wrapped around his neck and he wasn’t breathing), she said at 38 weeks we would evaluate and probably schedule an induction.
Week 11: Genetic Testing at 35 and the Counsyl Test
As I mentioned, my doctor discussed genetic concerns for pregnancy after 35 and my options at my 10-week appointment. My husband and I chose to do genetic testing using the quad test with our son. This time, prior to our 10-week appointment, we decided we didn’t feel it was necessary. The quad test is done at another location, plus it isn’t 100% accurate and we don’t have any genetic disorders that run in our family. I went into the appointment thinking no but my doctor mentioned my heightened risk and that pregnancy after 35 afforded me some other options. The Counsyl test was what she recommended because it is 99% accurate and only requires a blood draw which could be done in the lab that day. She also said it was likely covered by insurance because pregnancy at 35 was one of the stipulations for the Counsyl test.
At that point I figured, what could it hurt? So I decided to do the Counsyl test at my 10-week appointment knowing it would take about 1-2 weeks to get the results since it would fall over the Christmas holiday.
Seven days later, on Christmas Eve when I was exactly 11 weeks pregnant we got the call. Our Counsyl test results were in. My husband and I were on speaker phone when the nurse gave us the news that everything looked good and came back normal! It was such a relief! She also asked if we wanted to know the sex of the baby because the Counsyl test can determine that with 99% accuracy. We said yes and we found out at just 11 weeks pregnant that we are blessed with another sweet baby boy! My husband screamed “Yes!!”, I cried tears of joy, and the nurse was laughing and wishing us a Merry Christmas on the other end. It was a great way to start our Christmas holiday.
Weeks 12-13: Pregnancy Symptoms Worse with Second Child?
Is it just me or are pregnancy symptoms worse the second time around? The round ligament pain seems to be more obvious and regular this time around. My breast got bigger much sooner and are way more tender this time. And the headaches, oh the headaches, they come on in full force and out of nowhere. It probably doesn’t help that I have a rambunctious toddler to take care of. He definitely keeps us on our toes and I can’t wait for his little playmate to arrive!
Other than the basic stuff, the last 2 weeks have been pretty uneventful. Food cravings have ramped up, though it’s nothing weird, just the urge to eat all my favorites all the time. Spicy Mexican, greasy cheeseburgers, and cheesy pasty, all. the. time. I just keep reminding myself, you only need 200 extra calories a day. Yeah, right. And it’s almost Girl Scout cookie season, Lord help me.
I also used my fetal doppler (plus doppler gel) at 13 weeks just for peace of mind and it took only a minute or so to find the heartbeat. It was a great feeling between OB appointments! I know they can be controversial (though I think even that’s a stretch) but it’s probably the best pregnancy purchase I have ever made!
Pregnancy at 35: Weeks 9-13
So far, first-trimester pregnancy at 35 is pretty much the same as pregnancy before 35. I made it 1/3 of the way and it seems to be going faster this time around. Ask me again at 30 weeks and I bet you’ll get a different answer. We’re just taking it all day by day and praying for a safe pregnancy and a safe and uneventful delivery!
How did your pregnancy after 35 compare to previous pregnancies?
Let me know in the comments below!
Until Next Time,