Pregnancy and parenting after 35 | June 14, 2006 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

- June 14, 2006

Pregnancy and parenting after 35

Unique challenges, issues covered in books and videos

by The Health Library

It is becoming quite common for women to delay motherhood into their late 30s and early 40s. While most of these women have uneventful pregnancies and babies who are healthy, there are real risks — medical, social and emotional — associated with later-in-life pregnancy. Many women planning a later-age pregnancy are concerned their age might affect their ability to become pregnant, their health or the health of their baby.

There are a number of books available to help older mothers cope with these challenges, but many of them display an obvious bias instead of providing straightforward medical information.

A new book by Dr. Michele C. Moore and Dr. Caroline M. De Costa, who are themselves mid-life moms, fills that gap. Pregnancy and Parenting After Thirty-Five (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006) is loaded with expert and reassuring advice specific to the questions and needs of mothers-to-be in their 30s and 40s.

The book is divided into five sections that cover planning, becoming and being pregnant, giving birth and motherhood after birth. Normal processes and procedures are discussed in each section, followed by sections about potential problems and ways to handle them.

While many of the issues faced by older mothers are the same as those faced by pregnant women of all ages, the authors do try to avoid duplicating much of the general information that is found in myriad books available on pregnancy and childbirth. They do a good job of focusing on issues of interest and concern to mid-life mothers-to-be. Among the topics they address are: assisted reproductive technology; screening for chromosomal abnormalities; caesarean delivery; career choices; and being an older parent in a sea of "20-something" moms.

There are many other resources at the Health Library that focus on specific issues of interest to mothers-to-be in their later reproductive years. One of these is an E-book, Rewinding Your Biological Clock: Motherhood Late in Life: Options, Issues, and Emotions (W.H. Freeman Company, 1999), by Dr. Richard J. Paulson and Judith Sachs. This book is written for women with infertility questions, focusing on reproductive endocrinology and assisted reproduction. (Rewarding Your Biological Clock is accessible online at

In Manual of High Risk Pregnancy & Delivery (Mosby, 2003), authors Elizabeth Stepp Gilbert and Judith Smith Harmon discuss ways to cope with the physical and emotional demands of high-risk childbearing. A videotape, Juggling Work and Family (Films for the Humanities and Sciences, 2001), helps parents make choices about their lives after childbirth.

Online, pregnancy and childbirth information can be found at:

For help learning more about becoming a mother in middle age, visit, call or e-mail the Stanford Health Library. Research assistance is provided free of charge. Branches are located at the Stanford Shopping Center near Bloomingdales', on the third floor of Stanford Hospital or on the main level of Stanford's new Cancer Center. Call the Health Library at (650) 725-8400 or send an e-mail to


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