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Experts: For Healthy Older Women Pregnancy Can Still Be A Safe Decision

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- What had been rumored for some time is now confirmed. Janet Jackson is having a baby.

The pop star is about to turn 50 and some people are questioning whether it's safe to have a baby at that age.

As CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez explained, women having babies at an older age is a huge trend across the U.S. and in most developed countries.

In the 1970s only one in a hundred women were having their first child over age 35.

Now, the rate is ten times that -- one in ten.

But with increased age come increased risks.

Jackson announced on Twitter that, "my husband and I are going to start a family."

With that slightly cryptic announcement, Jackson set off a storm of speculation that she has now put to rest. She is in fact pregnant and she will be turning 50 in a little over a week.

So is having a baby at her age a good idea?

Dr. Joanne Stone, Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at the Mount Sinai Health System said almost a quarter of her practice is women over 40. They do have increased health risks.

"Risks that increase with age; diabetes, high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, preterm delivery, baby not growing, stillbirth is higher with age and C-section," she said.

That doesn't mean that women shouldn't try. Cynthia Donaldson had her daughter Nina at age 40 and just gave birth to baby Liza two-and-a-half weeks ago at age 43. She said she pretty much sailed through both.

"I didn't have pre-eclampsia, diabetes, my body was working perfectly," she said.

Most of the potential complications are usually manageable, but that means older moms should be closely monitored by a high risk pregnancy obstetrician.

Dr. Stone also said age is not the sole risk factor.

"A lot depends on the health of the woman. Healthy women without underlying problems will sail through pregnancy," she said.

And Janet Jackson seems to be saying to critics that she's that kind of healthy woman with the release of her first music video in years 'Damn Baby' with a lyrics that says "Can't nobody tell you what you can't do."

As long as any health issues that a mother might develop are handled, there's fewer risks to the baby itself.

Older pregnancy is not easy, but it is doable and usually safe.

While we have no idea about Janet, most older moms need help getting pregnant through IVF or egg donation because fertility declines dramatically by the late 30s.



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