Rumors have been swirling that Janet Jackson may be pregnant ever since she canceled her world tour this past April. But Jackson has finally broken her silence. It’s official: The queen of pop is pregnant!
Jackson, who recently turned 50, confirmed the rumors that she and husband, Wissam Al Mana, are expecting their first child via a gorgeous pregnancy-bump photo on People.com early Wednesday morning. The caption reads: “We thank God for our blessing.”
While it’s pretty great to imagine the pioneer of the “nip slip” as someone’s mother, what Jackson’s pregnancy really shines a light on are some of the questions that arise when people have children later in life.
Primarily, Is It Safe?
While 35 has often been cited as the age when your ability to conceive takes a nosedive, many of the stats that have helped define over-35 pregnancies as at risk for complications or abnormalities aren’t where they use to be. According to the National Down Syndrome Society, a 35-year-old’s odds of giving birth to a baby with Down syndrome have dropped to one in 350.
But while there are fewer abnormalities and complications in older mothers than there use to be, the risk for these things does still increase with the age of the mother. Luckily, though, the tests we now have to screen for these things are getting better and better.
For mothers who are already pregnant, there is a new generation of screening tests for genetic abnormalities. And for those pursuing fertility treatments, the preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) test looks at genetic diseases in embryos before IVF implantation.
So the greater risk for most late-in-life pregnancies is actually for the mother. "Having a pregnancy over the age of 35 has increased risks," Dr. Pari Ghodsi tells us. "In women over 45 there is a higher risk of losing the pregnancy after 20 weeks, higher risk of death of the baby shortly after birth, as well as an increased risk of pre-term birth, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia."
According to Baby Center, you’re also at higher risk of developing certain complications during pregnancy — such as placental abruption (in which the placenta prematurely separates from the uterine wall) and placenta previa (in which the placenta lies low in the uterus, partly or completely covering the cervix).
2 Minute Medicine also points out that as the age of the mother increases, the possibility for pelvic floor trauma and gestational diabetes increases accordingly in increments of six percent per year over the age of 18.
However, there is light at the end of the late-in-life-pregnancy tunnel. In a recent study done by the University of Eastern Finland, scientists found that if you become aware of the risks early on, it decreases the risk of complications for the mother: “Early recognition of the risk groups would make it possible to guide mothers to further treatment at an earlier stage and, consequently, could help reduce the risks of the mother and the fetus alike.”
- While 35 has often been cited as the age when your ability to conceive takes a nosedive, many of the stats that have helped define over-35 pregnancies as at risk for complications or abnormalities aren’t where they use to be.
- But while there are fewer abnormalities and complications in older mothers than there use to be, the risk for these things does still increase with the age of the mother.
What Do YOU Think?
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Can you believe Janet Jackson is pregnant? Have you or someone you know experienced a late-in-life pregnancy? How old were you when you had your first child? Did you have any complications?
- Can you believe Janet Jackson is pregnant?
- How old were you when you had your first child?
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Hillary Eaton is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles whose work has appeared in VICE, Refinery29, LA Weekly and Complex. She loves writing about food, entertainment, travel and style.