Preparing for a Healthy Pregnancy After 35

Pregnant woman in a floral dress and pink sweater standing next to a crib, holding her belly

Pregnancy after 35 can feel very overwhelming. You may hear terms like “advanced maternal age” or “geriatric pregnancy.” Even though you might feel great, you may automatically be considered a high-risk pregnancy – and that may mean more appointments and more interventions than you had initially anticipated.

The good news is that many, many women successfully carry healthy babies to term after 35. Further, while many things may be recommended by your doctor, at the end of the day you need to decide what interventions and medications you’re comfortable with. There is no requirement to do things a certain way simply because you have been on this earth a bit longer than many other expectant mothers.

However, even though chances are great that you will have a healthy pregnancy, there are some risks and other things to consider with a pregnancy occurring later in life

Egg Quality & Health Conditions in Pregnancy After 35

First, it may take you longer to achieve pregnancy. Women have every egg they will ever have while they are still in their mothers’ wombs. Those eggs, unfortunately, decrease in quality as the years wear on. This may make it harder to become pregnant. When you do become pregnant, this may increase your risk of having a child with a chromosomal abnormality. 

Pregnant woman holding glucose meter to check blood sugar at home

There are some health conditions, such as gestational diabetes and hypertension, that are more likely to occur when the expectant mother is later in life as well. Further, you may find that you have less energy and more aches and pains than a younger mother. 

However, this doesn’t mean that you should give up on becoming pregnant, or assume that you will have health problems during pregnancy. There are many things you can do to have a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.

Plan Preconception Check Up

First, plan ahead. If you can (and not everyone can!), you can prepare for pregnancy with a preconception checkup at your OB/GYNs office. This checkup will allow you to discuss pregnancy with your doctor, ensure you don’t have any health conditions that could be problematic, and plan for any medicine changes you may need to make to keep you and your baby healthy. Preconception is also a great time to seek treatment for anything that has been bothering you. Then, you won’t need to adjust your plans to keep your baby safe. In addition to meeting with your doctor, you will want to schedule an appointment with your dentist. There are  some dental procedures that are difficult to manage during pregnancy, so getting those out of the way may help you have a more comfortable pregnancy.

If your pregnancy was unplanned, or you didn’t have time to do these things before becoming pregnant, don’t worry about it! You still have every opportunity to have a happy and healthy pregnancy. One of the best things you can do is start taking a prenatal vitamin as soon, or before, as you find out you’re expecting. 

Practice Healthy Habits

As soon as you decide to try to become pregnant, or as soon as you find out you’re pregnant, stop smoking, drinking, or using recreational drugs. These habits aren’t good for your baby no matter how old you are. If you’re taking prescription medications check with your doctor to see if you need to adjust them at all to keep your baby safe.

Increased Risk of Chromosomal Abnormality

Take some time to consider that you are at an increased risk of having a child with a chromosomal abnormality because of advanced maternal age. While that may seem terrifying, consider that a special needs child can actually be an incredible gift. If you do receive news about concerns, you may feel pressured to choose to abort your unborn baby. By considering how you would respond to this type of situation before it arises, you can maintain your cool and make calm choices.

Commit to taking care of yourself during your pregnancy. Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep. These things can help ease your pregnancy symptoms and increase your enjoyment of your pregnancy journey.   

The Importance of Prenatal Appointments

Pregnant woman sitting on an exam table next to her physician holding a clipboard

Attend all of your prenatal appointments, even if you feel fine. Especially if you have had other children you may be tempted to skip out on these appointments. After all, you would know it if something went wrong, right? Anyway, you have too much to do to sit around at the doctor’s office! Keeping your prenatal appointments is important at any age, but especially in pregnancy after 35. Remember those health concerns we mentioned above? Your provider needs to see you in the office to find out if you are beginning to have any difficulties during pregnancy. Besides, those moments in the office may be the quietest times you have in the business of daily life!

Make Time for Yourself!

Speaking of being busy, take time for yourself during your pregnancy. Whether this is your first baby or your eighth, slow down and enjoy the beauty that is happening within you. Take time to rest, and reflect, on your life and what is changing and what is about to change. Pregnancy is a beautiful time, and moms over thirty-five know that time passes all too quickly. Don’t forget to slow down and enjoy the ride.

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