Geriatric isn’t a word that comes to mind when discussing a woman in her 30s — unless you’re talking about pregnancy.

While the term is reserved for women over 35, it continues to be used to describe a pregnancy by a woman deemed to be procreating late in life. But as our culture changes, the age of mothers is changing as well. My own mother, who gave birth in the ‘80s, was seen as ancient during her pregnancies at 35 and 39. This has become more common today, with 15 percent of new mothers having their babies at age 35 or older. This can be explained by a number of cultural factors linked to education.

A recent study out of Australia suggests that maternal age is not the risk factor it was once believed to be. While women with pre-existing health concerns or prior pregnancies with complications may be at a higher risk, maternal age alone may not be the risk factor it was believed to be. Healthy women over 35 showed age as only a “minor” risk factor when compared to women over 35 who reported existing health issues.

Women over 35 may have a higher risk for such health issues, including gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. On the flipside, women over 35 are more likely to exercise and less likely to use drugs and alcohol. When it comes down to it, let’s face the facts: Pregnancy is only easy for the lucky ones, regardless of age! Growing a human is hard work. Here’s hoping that more research will be supportive of these increasing “geriatric pregnancies!” In the meantime, MamaNook is here to make life easier during pregnancy.