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Posted at 10:38 AM ET, 04/11/2011

Pregnant after 40? Don’t worry

Maybe that it’s just that we all love Liz Lemon.Or perhaps we’re all just hungry for a bit of happy news. Whatever the reason, it seems everyone is overjoyed to hear that Tina Fey is expecting her second child. 

Fey, 40, announced that she’s five months pregnant in an interview she taped with Oprah Winfrey last week. She has reportedly admitted that she agonized over the decision to have another child. Her daughter Alice is 5. 

There was a time when Fey’s age would have made her announcement newsworthy. But these days, getting pregnant at 40 or older is, well, old hat. Data published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March show that, while birth rates for women under 40 have fallen, birth rates for women 40 and over continue to rise.

 As for health concerns, the older a woman gets, the greater her risk of miscarriage, premature delivery and conditions such as placenta previa. But according to the March of Dimes, that’s no reason to avoid pregnancy. With proper medical care, odds are that everything will turn out just fine.

 In sort-of-related news, research published last week suggests that women with multiple sclerosis can safely become pregnant, without fear of worsening their disease or harming their baby. A review of 22 studies covering a total of 13,144 women with MS found nothing to distinguish the safety of their pregnancies from the norm. In fact, the review found, many women experience a substantial reduction, or even temporary disappearance, of their MS symptoms when they’re pregnant. (Though symptoms tend to come back strong after delivery.) Here again, it’s important to get good medical care, especially as most of the disease-modifying drugs for MS haven’t been shown to be safe for use during pregnancy, so women usually have to stop taking them while expecting. I worried that I was old when I had my babies at 32 and 35. And when I was diagnosed with MS at age 40, I felt relieved that I had already had my children, so I didn’t need to make a decision as to whether to get pregnant as a woman with MS. Looking back, I wish I had relaxed a little more on both counts.  Let’s hear your stories about post-40 pregnancy or being pregnant and having MS. And please join me in wishing Tina Fey and her family all the best. 

By  |  10:38 AM ET, 04/11/2011

 
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