Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Down syndrome Diagnosis: Does Age Matter?

There are some common facts about Down syndrome that aren't so commonly known. The subject of the mother's age is one of those facts that needs discussed from time to time.

Here's the deal. As the mom ages, her chance of having a baby with Down syndrome does increase. Simply put, a woman who is 45 has a greater chance of having a baby with Down syndrome than a 20 year old woman.

The thing that surprises most people though is that most babies with Down syndrome are born to women under age 35. Depending on what you read, sources estimate that 50-80% of babies with Down syndrome are born to women under age 35. Down syndrome can occur in any pregnancy, and more pregnancies occur in younger women. Thus, the majority of women having babies with Down syndrome are under 35.

Before having my daughter, I didn't realize it was possible for a young mom to have a baby with Down syndrome. I was shocked when I had Jaycee at age 25.
Me age 25 with newborn Jaycee

I remember asking the doctor how Down syndrome could happen to my baby when I was so young. It seemed impossible or so I thought.

I didn't know then what I know now. It can happen to any pregnant mom. The chances of it happening are less when you are younger, but it can still happen. There's nothing "wrong" with the young mom. An extra chromosome just occurred.

So, yes teenage mothers, moms in their twenties, and moms in their forties can all have a baby with Down syndrome.

This post is written for "31 for 21"- blogging all 31 days in October for Trisomy 21 awareness. 


  1. My mammy was 23 when she had her first child who happened to have down syndrome; at 39 she had her last child who didn't have down syndrome...it's amazing how we all assume down syndrome only occurs with older births. This was beautifully written ,thanks for sharing x

  2. Back in 2010 I argued this when some people in my circle were watching PRECIOUS.

    Of course in that movie there was a very young girl [16? 19?] who had her first child Quishay.

    The only way not to have a Trisomy 21 child is to be ... not pregnant.

    And, yes, the occurrence!


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