Saturday, September 17, 2005


An “epidemic of middle-aged pregnancy” threatens the health of mothers and babies as a growing number of women delay having children to pursue their careers. An editorial today in the British Medical Journal gives warning of the risks run by women who wait until their mid-thirties before trying for children. It refers to the growing number of cases of age-related fertility problems and other health complications. The authors, all obstetricians and gynaecologists, said that the “have it all” generation of women who go for careers first, then try for children, were defying the natural progression of their biological clocks. They said that many seemed unaware that they could miss out on motherhood altogether.

It is widely accepted that the best time for having a baby is between the ages of 20 and 35, with fertility problems increasing after 35, and dramatically so for women over 40. Once a woman in this age group is pregnant, the outcomes for mother and child are worse.

According to the Office for National Statistics, over-35s now have the fastest-growing birthrates. Women having babies in their 40s have nearly doubled in ten years. The number in their 30s is up by two thirds and now outstrips those in their 20s. High-profile examples of late motherhood include Madonna, who had her last child at 42, Liz Hurley (36), the actress Emma Thompson (40) and Cherie Blair, who gave birth to Leo in 2000 at the age of 45.

Susan Bewley, a consultant obstetrician in maternal-foetal medicine at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, said that many career women appeared unaware that they were gambling with their ability to reproduce. Dr Bewley said that she and her colleagues were witnessing the problems of the growing number of middle-aged pregnancies first-hand. “Delaying having children is like Russian roulette,” Dr Bewley told The Times. “If you win you feel clever, but if you don’t you will regret it.”

She said that other factors, such as increasing life expectancy, less rigid attitudes to retirement and longer spent in education were giving people the false impression that everything in life could be delayed. “The problem is that women who want to be mothers are now drifting out of the normal physiological range. As the population as a whole drifts, we must stop and examine the repercussions.” Dr Bewley and her fellow authors, Melanie Davies, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at University College Hospital, London, and Professor Peter Braude, head of women’s health at Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’ School of Medicine, write of the many age-related problems that can hinder conception and cause ill-health for mother and child. “Most pregnancies in women older than 35 have good outcomes, but small shifts in population distribution curves affect large numbers of women. Obstetricians and gynaecologists have seen dramatic changes in two decades alongside this demographic transformation and are witnesses to the resultant tragedies.”

Problems cited include infertility, higher rates of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancies, foetal and chromosomal abnormalities and the increased likelihood of a premature birth, stillbirth or neonatal death. There is also a greater risk of pregnancy diseases such as pre-eclampsia, which causes abnormally high blood pressure, during the second half of pregnancy, posing dangers to both mother and child. “If you delay having children for ten years, that is ten more years to collect up medical disorders and diagnoses, such as high blood pressure or rheumatoid arthritis,” Dr Bewley said.

The authors suggest that factors at birth, such as low birthweight, could trigger later health problems for a baby, such as diabetes. Delaying also affects partners and children of older men have an increased risk of schizophrenia and genetic disorders. The authors call on doctors to help women to achieve “biologically optimal childbearing” and question why public health agencies target teenagers but ignore the issue of later pregnancies.

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It adds up to "I am allowed to coerce but you are not"

One reason dizzy liberals hate and fear principled freedom advocates so much is that we individualists often render value judgments -- and when the Liberal Mentality hears someone render a value judgment with which the "liberal" disagrees, the liberal wants to pretend that the value judgment is "invalid" because "there are never any absolutes" (a statement which, if true, is self-contradictory and therefore false). So, when a rational individualist renders a value judgement that a liberal doesn't like, the liberal often tries to attack ALL value judgements as invalid rather than dealing with the specific issue at hand -- and sometimes even accuses the principled individualist of wanting to "legislate morality" or somehow forcibly impose his moral judgement on him!

For example, if the rational individualist claims that using heroin and cocaine can be addictive and is bad for one's health, the liberal relativist reacts very defensively and with barely suppressed guilt symptoms, perhaps even petulantly stamping his or her foot in indignation and screeching something like "What right do you have to impose your moral judgements on me or other people! I have a right to do what I want!"

Notice that the rational individualist has in no way used force, either personal or political, to impose his views on the "liberal" or anyone else -- nor has he advocated using the force of political legislation to impose his observations about private personal behavior or anyone; but, the "liberal" -- almost always intellectually dishonest to the core -- wants to try to get away with portraying those who express moral sentiments as somehow threatening to impose their morality on others.

What the "liberal" really feels threatened by is not legislation but the idea that the morality of human behavior might not be arbitrary and subjective but based on rational principles and on absolute standards which if ignored could affect his life and happiness.

(Of course this same liberal sees nothing wrong or hypocritical with him using Big Government to impose his notions of morality on other people -- from compulsory school attendance laws, forced bussing of school children, anti-discrimination laws, Affirmative Action, compulsory seat belts, FDA restrictions on what vitamins you can take, laws against "quack" cancer cures, compulsory Social Security taxes, restrictions on using one's own land, antitrust laws, income taxes, price controls, and many other coercive interventions against peoples' freedom to engage in capitalist acts among consenting adults.)

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