35 is often quoted as a threshold for having a smooth pregnancy. However, most doctors agree that if you are generally healthy, you can still have a good pregnancy. However here are some things you need to be aware of.
The biggest obstacle for women age 35 or older may be getting pregnant in the first place. You’re born with a limited number of eggs and fertility rates begin to decline gradually at age 30, more so at 35, and markedly at age 40. Even with fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization, women have more difficulty getting pregnant as they age.
COMMON RISKS INCLUDE
- Gestational diabetes. This type of diabetes occurs only during pregnancy, and it’s more common as women get older.
- High blood pressure. If you are an older mum, your doctor will carefully monitor your blood pressure and your baby’s growth and development. If it poses any danger, you might need to take medication or deliver your baby before your due date to avoid complications.
- You might need a C-section. Labor problems tend to be more common in first-time mothers older than 35. Some mother develop complications that might lead to a C-section delivery, such as placenta previa, whereby the placenta blocks the cervix.
- Chromosomal problems. The risk of these goes up every year. At age 25, your risk of having a baby with Down’s syndrome, for example, is about 1 in 1,250. At age 40, the risk is 1 in 100.
HOW TO REDUCE RISKS AFTER 35
Your best defense is to take care of your general health, which decreases your chances of having problems. Here are a few things you should do:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight may lead to miscarriage, fetal abnormalities, high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia.
- Stop smoking and drinking.Large amounts of alcohol, particularly in the first few months of pregnancy, can lead to physical or mental abnormalities in the baby as well as growth retardation. Smoking in pregnancy increases the chances of miscarriage and also affects the size and the long-term health of the baby.
- Start taking prenatal vitamins three months before you plan on conceiving
- Get enough rest and sleep
- Exercise. Get at least 30 minutes, 4-6 days a week
- Stick to doctor’s appointments and follow orders.