Beyond the Egg Timer

An insider's guide to having children in your thirties and forties.

Things That Probably Won’t Happen

Older pregnant women are practically encouraged to worry about all sorts of potential negative outcomes. It’s important to remember that these events are unlikely, no matter what your age. Let’s take Down Syndrome as an example. Read More


Something I have been pointing out to people for awhile now is that the risk of harm to a baby because of amniocentesis is often higher then the risk something will actually be wrong. In other words people are risking the death of an unborn child to have a better idea if the unborn child will have any problems.

Personally I wish after algebra they would start pushing statistics in high school. Calculus is of little use to most people but statistics is useful for everyone.

Thoughtful comment.....yes,

Thoughtful comment.....yes, everything has risks and we aim to educate women so they don't need to take unnecessary chances. Also, we are geeks who love statistics!

It's not age in and of itself that increases risks...

...but the fact that the older you are, the more opportunities you've had for X-ray radiation to accumulate and damage your eggs. This is what increases the risk for Down's syndrome and other birth defects, not age in and of itself. Don't forget that men are also affected by cumulative X-ray exposure which can damage their sperm.

In other words, you're more at risk if you've had lots of X-rays and CAT scans. That includes mammograms and dental X-rays. What's worrisome is that I haven't heard any doctors asking women who are trying to conceive about how many X-rays they recall getting.

If you need an X-ray or CAT scan, insist that they be conducted at the lowest dosage possible. Ask your doctor whether the technician has been specifically trained and whether the equipment has been inspected recently to assure that it delivers the appropriate dose. Observe whether the technician provides proper shielding for your reproductive organs.

Great point! I (Sharon) have

Great point! I (Sharon) have actually stopped doing the x-ray scan at the airport and opt for the "pat down".

Well, they might worry about

Well, they might worry about at the older ages, I think. But it does not mean they will absolutely have a kid with down.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

Sharon I. Praissman is an adult (medical) and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Emma Williams is a public health researcher and writer.


Subscribe to Beyond the Egg Timer

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.