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Motherhood Later than Sooner,  Sept 21, 2010
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Kristie Pearson was 41 and already a mother to a teenager when she gave birth to her son, Darren, who is now 16 months old.

He's got a real personality and is "just the cutest little thing," in his mother's words, but most important of all, he's a healthy baby.

"He is a handful," Pearson said of Darren. "He is more active than the first one was!"

Pearson's doctor was very supportive when she and her husband started talking about having another baby.

"He was all for it. He told me that, of course, when you're over 40, your chances of having complications are greater. But he said that being overweight or having diabetes were a great concern, and I didn't have any of that."

Her pregnancy was a healthy one, and her success story as a "late-in-life" mom is more the rule and not the exception, said Dr. McCain Ashurst, an obstetrician/gynecologist at Physicians for Women in Montgomery.

"People told me I was too old to have another baby," Pearson said. Her advice to other prospective moms: Don't let the naysayers bother you. "If you really want to do it, you should do it! You're not too old."

But there are some health issues to think about.

Among the risk factors for women over the age of 35, according to Ashurst:

Fertility rates. The rate starts going down at age 32, and decreases significantly after age 37. "The reason is the poor quality of the aging eggs, decreased ovarian reserves, and the altered hormonal environment," Ashurst said. "The ovaries don't work as well as they used to."

But the major problems are reproductive issues related to aging — the older the mother, the more occurrences of endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and other issues that can cause decreased fertility.

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