Bombshell actress Halle Berry dropped her own bombshell on the media this week when she announced that she is pregnant. Berry, 46, has held her ground in the celebrity pages with supermodels half her age for years. But now that she is pregnant, she has been cast under the net of "older mom." And it's got lots of folks talking about the struggles she might face in her pregnancy.
Actually, at 46, Berry is well beyond the magic age of 35 when pregnant women are considered "higher risk." Beyond 35, pregnant women are often advised to undergo additional tests throughout pregnancy to ensure that all is well for both mom and baby. The good news though is that most women can continue to have healthy babies well into their 30s and 40s. And Berry's obvious excellent physical condition makes her a good candidate for a healthy, happy pregnancy. But she will have to pay even closer attention to her health than ever before to ensure that she and her baby stay healthy for the next nine months.
Older moms-to-be are more likely to develop health problems during pregnancy such as high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. Berry, already a diabetic, will no doubt have to be very careful about her diet during this pregnancy. Women who are pregnant after 35 are also more likely to develop certain complications during pregnancy such as placental abruption — in which the placenta prematurely separates from the uterus — and placenta previa — in which the placenta lies low in the uterus and covers the cervix.
There are also risks for the baby of an older mom. Research shows that your chances of having a premature delivery and/or low-birth weight baby increase with the mother's age. And the baby of an older mother is more likely to have chromosomal changes that can lead to conditions including Down syndrome and heart abnormalities. In the past, doctors would recommend amniocentisis to test for birth defects in higher risk pregnancies. But this test — which included drawing amniotic fluid from the uterus with a needle — actually carried its own risk of miscarriage and other health problems. Fortunately, there is now a low-risk blood test that is safer for both moms and babies.
In a recent interview with CNN, Berry told interviewer Alina Cho, "I thought I was kind of past the point where this could be a reality for me. So it's been a big surprise and the most wonderful."
Big congrats to Berry on her pregnancy. She's about to redefine the image of the "older mom."