Pregnancy Over the Age of 30
- Created: March 28, 2013
- by: admin
Today’s career-oriented woman is waiting longer to get pregnant. This may serve as a benefit to her career life, but what about her biological time clock? Rest assured, although most women hit their fertility peak in their 20’s, most healthy women who get pregnant after the age of 35 and even into their 40s have healthy babies. That doesn’t mean, though, that you shouldn’t think about the smart steps you could take to maximize your health and your baby’s health during pregnancy.
How Can I Increase My Chances of Having a Healthy Baby?
Get early and regular prenatal care. The first eight weeks of your pregnancy are very important to your baby’s development. Early and regular prenatal care can increase your chances of having a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby. Prenatal care includes screenings, regular exams, pregnancy and childbirth education, and counselling and support.
Getting prenatal care also helps provide extra protection for women over 35. It allows your doctor to stay ahead of health conditions that are more common in women who are older when they get pregnant.
Consider optional prenatal tests for women over 35. Your doctor may offer you special prenatal tests that are particularly applicable older moms. These tests help determine the risk of having a baby with a birth defect. Ask your doctor about these tests so you can learn the risks and benefits and decide what’s right for you.
Take prenatal vitamins. All women of childbearing age should take a daily prenatal vitamin containing at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. Getting enough folic acid every day before and during the first three months of pregnancy can help prevent birth defects involving a baby’s brain and spinal cord. Taking folic acid adds an important level of protection for older women, who have a higher risk of having a baby with birth defects.
How Can I Lower My Risk for Pregnancy Problems?
Maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet. Eating a variety of foods will help you get all the nutrients you need. That way you’ll keep your teeth and bones healthy while your baby develops. Also be sure to include good food sources of folic acid, such as leafy green vegetables, dried beans, liver, and some citrus fruits.
Gain the recommended amount of weight. Talk with your doctor about how much weight you should gain. Women with a normal BMI should gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy. If you were overweight before getting pregnant, your doctor may recommend that you only gain 15 to 25 pounds. Gaining the appropriate amount of weight lessens the chance of your baby growing slowly and reduces the risk of preterm birth. You also lower your risk of developing pregnancy problems such as gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.
Exercise regularly. Regular exercise will help you stay at a healthy pregnancy weight, keep your strength up, and ease stress. Just be sure you review your exercise program with your doctor. You’ll most likely be able to continue your normal exercise routine throughout your pregnancy.
Stop smoking and drinking alcohol. Like all pregnant women, you should not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes during your pregnancy. Drinking alcohol increases your baby’s risk for a wide range of mental and physical defects. Smoking increases the chance of delivering a low birth weight baby, which is more common in older women.
Ask your doctor about medications. Talk with your doctor about what meds are safe to take during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, supplements, and natural remedies.