Advanced Maternal Age? Check Out the PreTRM Test.

At risk for preterm birth? You’re not alone. Learn more about the PreTRM test in this sponsored post.
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Advanced maternal age.

If you’re pregnant or considering having a baby and you’re 35 years old or older, you might as well get used to that phrase right now. You’ll hear it from your very first prenatal appointment all the way until the baby is born. Trust me, I know.

Six months ago, when I discovered that I was pregnant at the age of 37, I knew that things would be different than when I’d had my first child back in 2009. Back then I thought I was old, but I had no idea! Just a few years removed from 40 now, my first instinct was to take offense at the phrase, “advanced maternal age”. I was all, “Excuse me? WHO are you calling advanced maternal age? Don’t you know who I am?” When I learned about all of the extra tests and precautions my doctors would allow for me, though, all of a sudden being an old mama didn’t sound so bad!

I’m serious, Mamas. There are some real benefits to having children when you’re over 35. Whenever I had a problem with my pregnancy, any doctor that saw me was especially thoughtful in making sure things were going well, rather than just brushing things off. I felt as if my concerns were taken more seriously this time around, and I definitely appreciate the attention.

Of course, having a child when you’re at an advanced maternal age isn’t all sunshine and roses. There are additional risks that us older mamas face during pregnancy.  Complications like gestational diabetes, pregnancy induced hypertension, or preeclampsia are all increased as we get older. Fortunately, many of these risks can be prevented or managed with the appropriate attention.

About Premature Birth

The risk that concerned me the most, however, was the possibility of premature birth. Premature birth is defined as having a child before 37 weeks of gestation. When a child is born before then, they are at risk for all sorts of health challenges including vision and hearing loss, cerebral palsy, and other long-term chronic conditions. In the U.S., 1 in 10 pregnancies end in premature birth. There are several factors that contribute to preterm birth, and one of them is, you guessed it, being of an advanced maternal age. Oh, and being an African-American. Yup. I’m a two-fer.


Taking the PreTRM Test

That’s where the PreTRM test comes in. It’s the “first and only prenatal blood test that is clinically validated to be an excellent predictor of preterm birth in all asymptomatic women who are pregnant with one baby, early in her pregnancy.” I was very fortunate to be able to take the PreTRM test during my 19th week of pregnancy, and received results a few weeks later. After my doctor reviewed the results with me, she made me feel more prepared for the possibility of a premature birth. We were able to have a conversation about premature birth that I’m not sure we would have had if I had not taken the test.

The entire process of scheduling and taking the PreTRM test was so simple. You know, we’re so used to being poked, prodded, and inconvenienced when we’re pregnant, that it almost felt too easy! First, I spoke with a customer service representative who sent a form for my doctor to fill out for my insurance company. Once the folks on the PreTRM test team received the completed form back, they handled everything on the insurance side, and then called me to schedule an appointment with a phlebotomist. Then it got downright magical. They came to my home to draw the blood. Yes, that’s right. I didn’t have to drive anywhere, didn’t have to look for parking. He was in and out within about 10 minutes.

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After I took the test, the results were sent to my doctor. She reviewed the results with me at my next prenatal appointment. It turns out, as she suspected, that I am indeed at a higher risk for premature birth. The advice that she gave me absolutely made me feel more confident that if it should occur, I’ll know how to handle it. It also just made me aware. I mean, I knew premature birth was a risk for my age, but I didn’t really do much research on it. Taking the test was the push I needed to make sure I’m informed.

Do you know if you’re at risk for premature birth? You can learn more about the factors and about the PreTRM test on their site. Follow the hashtag #PredictEarly for other stories from women who have experienced or are at risk for premature birth. Advanced maternal age or not, you are not alone, Mama.

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