More and more couples are opting for late pregnancies. Though age plays a factor in a healthy pregnancy, it does not always mean that you cannot conceive after a certain age. The important part is that pregnancies after 35 need a little more care and attention.
What are the Risks of Pregnancy in your Late 30s?
- It might take a longer time for you to get pregnant. You were born with millions of eggs in your ovaries, but with time, the number of eggs declines and so does the quality, due to environmental and health factors.
- Older mums may be at a higher risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, placenta abruption and placenta previa.
- Mothers over 35 may have higher chances of premature delivery, induced labour and assisted child birth.
- With your age, the chances of the baby being born with certain chromosomal abnormalities like Down’s syndrome and other birth defects increase slightly.
- The chances of IVF being successful are lower in case of mothers who are in their 40s.
One of the major problems you may come across is that it may take you a longer time to conceive. If you are within the age group of 35-39, it may take you up to one year, and sometimes even two, to get the big fat positive on your home pregnancy test.
Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy After 35
Consistent prenatal care:
Expectant mothers must take every possible precaution during the first two months of their pregnancy, and undergo regular health check-ups. A proper prenatal care will include screenings, tests, counseling and thorough knowledge about the different symptoms and risks. These tests would include checking your blood pressure, blood sugar and urine samples for the amount of protein and sugar to detect any ailments.
Be regular with prenatal tests:
With advancing age, the risk of pregnancy complications can increase, including the chances of having an ectopic pregnancy. The prenatal tests suggested by your doctor are vital in keeping track of any health-related troubles like birth defects concerning the baby. These will help you in getting any such problems treated without any delay. More invasive tests like Amniocentesis can detect chromosomal birth defects up to 90% accuracy. But there is also a risk of miscarriage with Amniocentesis. So weigh your options well before opting for any such tests.
Take prenatal vitamins:
Whether you are trying to conceive, or have already tested positive, you must take prenatal vitamins as advised by your doctor. Usually doctors advise supplement consisting of minimum 400mcg folic acid daily. The amount of folic acid requirement can vary from woman to woman. It is best to start prenatal vitamins at least 3 months prior to trying for conception. These vitamins will help in lowering the risk of any brain or spinal cord related defect in the baby. It is even more vital for older women as their babies are more susceptible to these diseases.
Ensure a healthy diet:
Eat a well-balanced diet comprising of fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk products, cereals etc. In addition, include calcium-rich products in your diet for stronger bones and teeth. Since folic acid is vital for the healthy growth of the baby in your womb, you can add some citrus fruits and dried beans in your meals.
Quit smoking & cut down your alcohol consumption:
Apart from following a nourishing diet, you need to stay away from alcohol and cigarettes. Smoking and drinking alcohol during your pregnancy can lead to birth defects in your child. Smoking can lead to low birth weight in newborn babies, and increase the chances of preeclampsia.
Be regular with some kind of exercise routine. Mild exercises like yoga, walking and stretch-outs can help you to stay fit, stress-free, active and healthy during your entire term of pregnancy. Consult your doctor before starting with your workout schedule as some women are recommended to avoid certain exercises due to some health conditions.
Maintaining ideal weight:
It is important to gain an ideal amount of weight during your pregnancy as it helps to reduce the risk of preterm delivery, and slow growth of your baby. There is also less risk of developing pregnancy-related ailments like high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. If you normally have a healthy BMI, you would gain 11-15 kg during your term of nine months. On the other hand, if you were overweight before conceiving, you should aim to gain around 7-12 Kg.
The risks related to late pregnancies here are meant for information purpose only, and in no way imply that most late moms will face these risks. With advancement in medical technologies, and high level of awareness amongst women, age is no longer the biggest concern as long as expectant mothers carefully plan their pregnancies with utmost prenatal care.