Pregnancy and motherhood can be the most significant and life-altering events in a woman’s life. However, according to statistics, motherhood doesn’t begin until after the 30s for highly educated women working. It is said that a woman’s biological clock starts ticking as she gets older. But, with the availability of several procedures like freezing, the risk of infertility in ‘delayed’ or ‘elderly’ pregnancy is significantly reduced.
Let’s look at some of the risk factors and complications of an elderly pregnancy, as well as tips to breeze through it:
Have a Healthy Lifestyle
An active, healthy lifestyle helps in keeping the body fit and ready for pregnancy after 40. Eating right, and getting enough vitamins and minerals is essential to avoid a condition called spina bifida in the child, where the spinal cord fails to close during foetal development.
Get Regular Check-Ups
To increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy after 40, make sure to schedule regular check-ups with your doctor. Also, work closely with them to keep any existing health condition like diabetes, under check.
Change your diet
At age 40 plus, your body requires a daily dose of whole grains, fruits and vegetables in your diet. These are rich in folic acid which is essential for the baby’s development. A balanced diet includes foods like spinach, kale and other leafy vegetables, and proteins.
While the effects of alcohol on early pregnancy are still pretty ambiguous, pregnant mothers over the age of 40 years should avoid alcohol altogether. Research by the American Academy of Pediatrics has found that alcohol can contribute to the chances of miscarriage in delayed or high-risk pregnancies.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking makes it harder for women to get pregnant as it causes eggs to deplete in quantity and quality. It is also known to cause several abnormalities and birth defects in babies.
Check for Chromosome abnormalities
Women who try for pregnancy over the age of 40 carry a higher risk of chromosome abnormalities. There are definitive tests, such as amnio or chorionic villus sampling (CVS), which involve the analysis of tissue from the placenta, for the presence of anomalies. It would be prudent to work with your gynaecologist to get all the appropriate tests done during pregnancy.
Multiple Pregnancy or Twins
A woman in her 40s is approaching menopause. Therefore, if you’re trying to get pregnant at this age, you are more likely to carry twins or multiples. Older women have higher levels of FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and are more likely to prepare more than one egg per menstrual cycle. Ultrasound scanning can help detect and manage multiple pregnancies.
Gestational Diabetes and Hypertension
Late pregnancy has a direct correlation to the incidence of conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure) and gestational diabetes. In case you are at risk, or already suffering, you might need to take insulin to keep your diabetes under control and adopt a new diet to manage hypertension.
The risks for elderly pregnancy are very real – but not insurmountable. As an older mother, you are likely to be wiser, patient, and adaptable to changes around you. Women over the age of 40 also have a high degree of self-confidence that they carry into the doctor’s office and are very clear about their preferences regarding labour and delivery.
At KIMS Cuddles, we are committed to minimizing your risks and ensuring a healthy elderly pregnancy. After all, it is never too late.
*The opinions expressed in this article are not to be substituted for medical advice under any circumstance.