If Janet Jackson’s pregnancy at age 50 shocked you, then Brigitte Nielsen's baby news will definitely make you raise an eyebrow.
At 54, the former Red Sonja and Beverly Hills Cop II actress is pregnant with her fifth child. She shared the news on Monday, hugging her baby bump with a caption that read, “family getting larger.”
Nielsen is expecting her fifth child with husband Mattia Dessi, 39, who she married in 2006, though she has four children from three past relationships—Raoul Meyer Jr., 23, Douglas Meyer, 25, Killian Gastineau, 28, and Julia Winding, 34. She was previously married to Sylvester Stallone.
While the news may seen surprising, Nielsen and Dessi have been wanting children for years. In 2008, she opened up to Hello! magazine about growing her family. “The children have kept me going. After I do Playboy, we want to try IVF. It’s asking a lot, but if it’s possible, it would make our package complete,” she said. She was 44 at the time.
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Jackson made headlines in 2016 when she officially announced her pregnancy, an odd occurrence for a woman aged 50. Lately, however, the average age of women expecting in Hollywood has increased, with a batch of pregnant stars preparing for birth in their 40s.
But what’s the likelihood that women above 50 will get pregnant? Those past 35 are considered to be of “advanced maternal age,” and the risk for complications is expected to rise. However, genetics and overall health history are also contributing factors. That said, fertility does decrease “by as much as 95 percent in women between 40 and 45 years of age,” according to Sheryl Ross, M.D., ob-gyn at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif.
Fertility expert Dr. John Zhang previously told the Daily News women above 50 only have a 1 percent chance of getting pregnant, although IVF can help increase the likelihood if the eggs of a younger woman are used. It’s unclear in which way Nielsen got pregnant.
As the New York Times reported last year, multiple studies have proven that giving birth at a later age could be a wise decision for your child. In a study from the International Journal of Epidemiology, those born to women between the ages of 35 and 39 had children with better cognitive abilities than those born to younger women.
Anyway, congratulations Brigitte!