Using illegal drugs, drinking alcohol or smoking are addictive and can harm both you and your baby. If a baby is exposed to these substances in the first few weeks of pregnancy (even before you have a positive pregnancy test) they can cause damage that can last a lifetime or result in miscarriage.

If you are a smoker you should seriously consider quitting now, before conception for the sake of your own health and that of your baby. Ask your health care provider for help. It takes time and patience to quit a bad habit and professional help is very important.

Later Childbearing

Most women in their mid 30s are able to have normal healthy pregnancies. As a woman ages however, her risk for certain medical and obstetric problems may increase such as hypertension, multiple gestations or increased risk for having a cesarean delivery. Another concern that many older women have is the increasing risk of having a baby with a birth defect. The chances of having some birth defects do increase with age and women 35 or older are usually offered testing for genetic disorders early in pregnancy.

Risk of having a baby with any chromosomal problem:


Births per 1000


25 2.1
30 2.6
35 5.2
40 15.2
45 47.6