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Sat, March 23

With age comes life experience

PRESCOTT – Bringing a baby into this world is a beautiful thing, and while many women in their early 20s learn all about motherhood as they raise their children, Vicki Roden said older moms might have a little advantage because of their life experience.

"An older mom is more mature, and more mature people often make better parents," said Roden, a registered nurse and childbirth instructor at Yavapai Regional Medical Center. "Older moms may feel more settled in her life and more secure all the way around."

As for any woman expecting a baby, Roden said women over the age of 35 need to "get good prenatal care. Make appointments with your doctor and follow through."

Anytime a woman is over the age of 35, there are more risks involved with childbirth, Roden said. She said the term doctors use for women over 35 is "advanced maternal age."

Roden said being older than 35 puts the mother "in the category to be aware of" the increase for fetal deformities and pregnancy-induced hypertension (a problem with blood pressure).

"There is a chance for these things in any pregnancy, but it can be threatening to mom and baby if left unchecked," she said. "In women older than 35, (these problems) happen more frequently."

If a mother attends regular doctor visits and receives all the tests she needs, Roden said the mother can have a normal, healthy baby.

She said older moms might not have as much energy as younger moms, but again, they might be more mature because "they've already done a lot in their life. The flip side of that might be that she's also well established in her ways."

Roden added that "a new little person that sets everything upside down and has his/her own personal schedule and needs might be a big adjustment. It just takes a little while to adjust."

Roden said a mom in her 20s might have issues such as school, a job and financial issues, whereas a mom a little older might be more secure.

Either way, Roden said having a baby is a learning process and a beautiful thing in a woman's life – she might just have some different approaches to motherhood depending on her age.

Contact the reporter at rbump@prescottaz.com

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