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Planning For Post-40 Pregnancies


While many women choose to have their children in their twenties and thirties, more and more women today are waiting until their forties to conceive. With advances in prenatal care, nutrition and childbirth, it is very safe to wait until well into your forties to have a baby. There are some complications that occur after the age of 35, so it's essential that older moms-to-be pay close attention to their health, and make medical care a top priority.

Conceiving a baby can be more difficult for women in their forties, since fertility decreases once a woman hits her late thirties. Often, women seek out fertility specialists to help them conceive, especially if they have tried to get pregnant for a year without success. Fertility drugs and in vitro fertilization are much more common for older couples, and may drastically increase the odds of conception.

You can up your odds of getting pregnant by eating a balanced diet with a variety of healthy foods, as well as making time for regular exercise and watching your weight. If you smoke, drink alcohol or use recreational drugs, you could be putting your health and the health of your future baby at risk. Women who do become pregnant and abuse alcohol, drugs or tobacco face many serious pregnancy complications, including miscarriage or stillbirth.

If you are over 40 and hoping to have a baby, you should schedule an appointment with your physician before you conceive. Your doctor can check your health, review your medical history, and discuss potential complications with you. When you are over 40, genetic defects like Downs syndrome are much more likely, so your doctor will probably advise you to undergo genetic testing when you do become pregnant.

Your urine and blood will also be monitored more carefully when you do become pregnant, as your chance of developing gestational diabetes or hypertension is higher over the age of 40. An amniocentesis, which involves inserting a thin needle through your abdomen to take a sample of amniotic fluid, is recommended in the second trimester to detect certain genetic defects. There is a small risk of miscarriage with amniocentesis, so you and your spouse will need to decide if you want to undergo this form of testing.

To prepare your body for pregnancy, you should begin taking a folic acid supplement at least one month before you plan to conceive. Folic acid will help guard against neural tube defects like spina bifida, which can cause paralysis, weakness and pain.

Having a baby over the age of 40 is not just for celebrities anymore! With good prenatal care and awareness about your diet and exercise, your odds of having a healthy pregnancy and baby are still excellent.

 


 
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