Why Do Articles About Brigitte Nielsen's Pregnancy at 54 Sound Oddly Familiar?


By Salma Abdelnour Gilman

The 54-year-old Danish-Italian actress Brigitte Nielsen—known in the States mainly for her roles in Beverly Hills Cop II, Cobra, and Rocky IV, and partly for her ex-marriage to Sylvester Stallone—just announced she's pregnant. This is Nielsen's first pregnancy, and the father is her 39-year-old husband Mattia Dessi.

That's just about all the media knows now, or needs to know. But why just publish a one-page article about a celebrity's pregnancy news, when you can pad it out instead with a Mad-Libs-worthy piece on the likelihood and unlikelihood, the ins and the outs, the cliches and the eye-rollers, about pregnancy at "advanced maternal age"? 

To wit: Newsweek's article about Nielsen's pregnancy news, headlined "Risks of Pregnancy for Women Over 50? Brigitte Nielsen Announces Pregnancy at 54," starts off with a couple of brief paragraphs about the announcement, then launches into this:

"Medically speaking, women who have children at age 35 or older are considered to be of advanced maternal age, Today’s Parent reported. Advanced age pregnancies can be more difficult, and the older you get the more unlikely they are. However, they are not impossible."

Many more paragraphs follow after that, and while reading them you might pause and think, "Wait, have I read this somewhere else before?" The answer would be yes.

You may have read it in this article about Rachel Weisz's pregnancy at 48. Or in that one about  Janet Jackson's pregnancy at 50. Or in that other one about Halle Berry's pregnancy at 46. And on and on.

We're not saying that the facts about the increased risks of later-age maternity, or the methods that many women are opting to use to have a baby in their 40s and 50s, aren't useful for a woman to know if she's gauging the decision to try to have a child in her late 30s and beyond. We're just saying this to celebrity magazines: For Pete's sake, we're not looking to you to gasp or shake your heads every time a 35-plus celebrity gets pregnant, or to recite variations on the same statistics and quotes we can get from far more reliable sources. Just report the news please, and raise a glass to the happy mom-to-be, and move along. Thx!

Photo of Brigitte Nielsen above by Jack Gavigan/hotnewthings.co.uk, via WikiMedia Commons.