pregnancy

Four mums share: These are the differences between being pregnant in your 30s and 40s.

Fifi Box recently announced she is pregnant for the second time at 41-years-old and Em Rusciano had her third child just weeks before turning the big 4-0.

For celebrities, having babies at forty and over is pretty standard – but what is it really like to experience pregnancy and birth in your forties?

Mamamia spoke to four mums who were pregnant in their early thirties AND early forties to compare their experiences and find out more:

Ineka

40-year-old mum-of-three Ineka had her first daughter at age 32 and while the birth was challenging, the pregnancy and recovery was straightforward.

“I felt mentally and physically ready first time around, catching a train and walking into the city five-days-per-week to work at my desk job up until I was 38 weeks,” she said.

“It all went a bit pear shaped with the birth – a 16-hour labour and episiotomy – but my recovery was good and when [my daughter] Maggie was 10-months-old I was back at work part time. With my second daughter Grace, I returned to work part-time when she was seven-months-old.

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Ineka and her family. Image: Supplied.

“My third pregnancy in my 40th year was pretty smooth on the whole and I only laboured for two hours after an induction so while it was intense, it was over quickly! I felt a lot bigger and slower but that was mostly to do with the added pressure of having two other children and a house to run.

“Baby Zoe is now seven-months-old and compared to my previous experiences, I don’t feel able to return to work yet. She is a very different baby and my body is not ‘bouncing back’ as it once did.

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"I’m not sure if it is having a third child or my age, but the tiredness is hitting me harder this time round – I'm physically exhausted and very conscious that I need to work on my physical strength to be able to handle the pressures of everyday life.

“Overall I feel very lucky: I am happy and healthy, I have three healthy and beautiful girls and a great relationship with my husband.”

Debra

Another mum-of-three Debra had almost 11 years between her pregnancies; the first, Elijah when she was 31-years-old, followed by twin boys Rudy and Benji at age 42. Thankfully for Deb, both pregnancy and birthing experiences were positive.

“With my first son I was quite naive and uncertain of what was expected of me at the birth. I was a lot more relaxed with the twins but maybe that was to do with knowing what was going to happen!

LISTEN: Zoe Marshall and Sean Szeps share their parenting advice on Mamamia's podcast for new parents, The Baby Bubble.

"On both occasions I experienced a natural birth in a public hospital, but first time around I didn't think to ask for pain relief so I went through the process drug-free.

“Second time I definitely felt more tired during the pregnancy, but I had a fantastic team of midwives for support and an epidural during labour which was nice! I was monitored quite frequently because not only was I deemed ‘geriatric’ but I was also having twins.”

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Debra and her three children. Image: Supplied.

Kristy

Pregnant with her second child at age 42, Kristy is excited about new motherhood in her forties but like Deb and Ineka, she is also feeling more lethargic.

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“I was pregnant with Alice in my early thirties and I had a lot more energy then, now I feel like I need an afternoon nap every day!

"I am also questioning whether or not to join a mothers’ group as I am not sure there’ll be any other mums my age. Most of my friends are well past the baby-stage of parenting so I wonder about who I’ll be sharing all the ‘new baby’ experiences with this time.”

The medical monitoring during Kristy’s second pregnancy has also caused some anxiety.

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Kristy with daughter Alice. Image: Supplied.

“Obstetrician’s have treated me like I’m high-risk with this pregnancy and I’ve been sent for many extra tests. I’m not sure if it is purely due to my age or if there are more issues presenting themselves, but a midwife told me that doctors would rather be overly cautious and proven wrong.”

While the physical demands and worries can be challenging, Kristy feels that there are plenty of great things about becoming a mum in your forties.

“I am more confident now than when I was in my thirties. I feel more relaxed about looking after the new baby as I have already done it before and I won’t be putting as much pressure on myself.

“I certainly won’t be wasting money buying everything brand new - Facebook Marketplace is the best! As my friends have mostly finished having their babies, I have received some amazing hand-me-downs which is very helpful.”

Kelly

Kelly, a forty-year-old mum-of-one is due to have her second baby in 2019. She has not noticed much difference between her two pregnancies, in spite of them being eight years apart.

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“The only real variance so far is being classified as high-risk - and this is solely because of my age. I experienced no morning sickness with my daughter Kiera and only a little nausea and tiredness this time - but it all passed by week 11. I am well aware that I am very lucky!

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Kelly with her daughter Keira. Image: Supplied.

“The advantages in having our second baby now is that this is very much the right time for us for lots of reasons, the main one being that we had quite a tough time of it the first-time round.

“When baby arrives those first few weeks without much sleep might be much harder now we are a little older, however, Kiera was the most amazing sleeper so you never know!

“Everybody has been over the moon with our news and tremendously supportive. At my first hospital appointment, they were almost apologetic about classifying me as high-risk and it was only briefly mentioned.

I was more nervous about sharing the news with friends and family for fear of comments about my age, but I now feel rather silly about this as we are very excited!”

Are you pregnant and in your forties? How do you feel? Did you have kids years apart and feel completely different during pregnancy or the same? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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