As their romance continues to blossom, and rumors of wedding bells grow stronger, fans are still clamoring for any hint they can get of Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton baby news. If Gwen gets pregnant, this would be her fourth child, and Blake Shelton’s first. According to an article by OK! magazine, Gwen and Blake have held off on getting married and instead begun to focus on getting pregnant. The insider quoted by OK! specifically mentions in-vitro fertilization (IVF), which is a method that many older women have used to get pregnant. The oldest woman to use IVF to get pregnant was 70-years-old when she gave birth to twins.
If the source at OK! magazine is right, it could mean some trouble ahead for the lovely couple. If Gwen Stefani wants to use her own eggs, there could be an issue with that. There are several fertility clinics that refuse to treat women over the age of 44 who want to use their own eggs. Shady Grove Fertility Center, one of the largest fertility clinic groups in the United States, says that it’s because they feel it’s unethical to promote treatments where the chance of success is so low. According to Dr. Robert Stillman, medical director emeritus for Shady Grove, they have never had a successful birth in a woman over 44 who used her own eggs. The problem comes from older eggs not being as viable for pregnancy. That’s why older women have such a low pregnancy rate when attempting natural fertilization.
What Are The Risks?
That’s not to say that Gwen would not find success with in-vitro fertilization with her own eggs. There are remarkable advances being made with IVF technology that allows doctors to tease out highly viable eggs from older mothers-to-be. Keep in mind, however, that Gwen Stefani is now 47. While it’s still statistically safe, there are still numerous health concerns that arise from a pregnancy at that age, some of them deadly. Those health risks could cause concern in the event that Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton baby news comes out revealing that she is pregnant.
In older women, the risk of preeclampsia skyrockets, with over a quarter of pregnant women suffering from the condition. Preeclampsia is a condition that normally affects less than 5 percent of pregnant women. This condition causes high blood pressure and damage to vital organs, such as the liver, kidneys, and brain.
In preeclampsia, blood vessels constrict, which causes the high blood pressure typical of this syndrome. As the blood flow is reduced to the organs in the body, plasma from the smaller vessels begins to leak. One of the organs affected is the kidney, where this leakage causes protein to seep into the urine, which is another major symptom of preeclampsia.
The danger that preeclampsia holds is primarily to the unborn child. Reduced blood flow to the fetus can stunt its development, or cause too little amniotic fluid to be produced. In extreme cases, placental abruption can take place, where the placenta sac either partially or completely separates from the uterus. That leaves the fetus starved of both oxygen and nutrients and also causes severe bleeding. The risk of preeclampsia is also heightened by in-vitro fertilization.
While older women in Hollywood and around the world are getting pregnant and having healthy babies with the help of modern medicine, this doesn’t lessen the risk to both the mother or the unborn child. The fact that Gwen Stefani is extremely fit and healthy should lessen her risk of complications, but it still can’t eliminate them entirely. It’s almost a guarantee, however, that she has already reviewed the risks with her doctor, so any Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton baby news will be a cause for celebration and not one for concern.
[Featured Image by Evan Agostini/AP Images]