Hello everyone, I could really use some help.
My guess is that it is both but doesn't really have anything to do with when it is detected. It's just a statistic that says that in women your wife's age, 1 in 18 babies will have a birth defect (irrelavant of whether it was detected before or after birth).
You can worry yourself sick about the odds, though. My suggestion is to keep it in the back of your mind...be aware of it...but don't be consumed by it. I had my 4th baby at 39, and my 5th baby at 41 and they are both completely healthy. Here's hoping for the same for you and your wife!!!
I had my first and only child at 42.
I think the odds they give you are based upon live births and pre-diagnostic tests like CVS and amnio that can tell you absolutely if your baby has a defect.
I had my youngest child at 39 (and am trying again at 44).
I agree with what everybody said here - We older gals have increased risks of birth defects, but also keep on mind that at least half of the birth defects happen in women BEFORE 35 just because there are more births in that age group, so you can move the statistics however you want.Nuchal Lucency test and the quad tests are about 70% sensitive, that means that they miss 30% of the cases, but they have virtually no risk for the mother. They can be useful screening tests however, and you can decide if you want to do an amnio later in life. Keep on mind that they do detect serious defects but also non lethal, not so serious defect - such as spina bifida, which can range from serious and life limiting to a little defect seen only on XR. So you and your wife will have to decide your level of tolerance to side effects and whether you will actually do something about a positive test or not. I did not take tests on my first baby (born when I was 39) and he is perfectly healthy, I may go ahead and do it this time. My main worry is the so-called lethal mutations, which means you can carry a pregnancy with a baby that has zero chance of survival (such as trisomy 18), and I don't think I could take it
Carmen in AZ
Oh I hear your worries, and I too want to talk about it.