Getting pregnant after 35 years of age : You should consider the risk associated with the late pregnancy, In this article we are going to discuss about the complexities arises due to late pregnancy after the age of 35 years of age.
What is Geriatric Pregnancy ?
When the women conceives after 35 years of age or more , it is called geriatric pregnancy. Its very common these days due to late age of marriage or career preference or may be any other reason. As the age advances, quality of egg and quality of sperm decreases. Thus these are considered high risk pregnancy because the incidence of problems is more as compared to less age groups.
Also read : What is Pregnancy test called ?
1. What is the risk if I conceives after 35 yrs age ?
In pregnancy, problems can arise even if you are less than 35 yrs. But they are more likely to happen if you are more than 35 years old. Some of the problems are discussed below:
- Risk of miscarriage missed abortion, and stillbirth is more in geriatric pregnancy.
- Chromosomal defects are common due to the aging of eggs and sperms, like Down syndrome.
- Premature rupture of membranes, premature birth.
- Increased chances of C-section due to stiffness of pelvic muscles, osteoporosis of pelvic bones.
- Hypertension in pregnancy, preeclampsia, eclampsia (fits during pregnancy due to high blood pressure).
- Low birth weight babies.
2. How to lower the risks for pregnancy problems ?
First of all you should take care of yourself.It will help you in managing any pre existing medical problems. If you are healthy then only the baby inside you will be healthy.
If you are suffering from any medical condition like hypertension or diabetes, make sure that you visit your physician regularly apart from your gynaecologist visits.
Take pre conceptional visit to your doctor as your medical condition should be under control before conceiving.
Visit your dentist also for your oral health check up. Any gum infection can increase the chance of preterm delivery.
Your diet should be a balanced diet including all the major and minor nutrients.You should have adequate amount of fruits, green vegetables, whole grains, lentils, milk and dairy products.Your diet should be rich in calcium,proteins and folic acid.
See Video on what to eat during Pregnancy ?
Keep a track on your weight.Excessive weight gain should be avoided in pregnancy as it increases the risk of getting hypertension and diabetes in pregnancy.
Exercise regularly. It also helps to keep a check on weight gain.Exercise also helps in de stressing yourself. Benefits of exercise in pregnancy have been discussed in my previous posts.
You should stop smoking and consuming alcohol during pregnancy.Alcohol increases your baby’s risk of having physical and mental defects.
Smoking also increases your chance of developing pre eclampsia.
If you are taking any medications for your pre existing medical condition then get all your medicines checked by your gynaecologist. Some medicines are harmful for the baby and so should be changed if you are pregnant.
3. How Can I Ensure that I have a Healthy Baby?
When you decide that you want to conceive, then the first thing to do is visit your doctor for preconceptional check up and counselling. All your medicines that you are taking will be reviewed by the gynaecologist keeping in mind the safety of your unborn baby.
Preconceptional check up will ensure that you are ready to conceive,both physically and psychologically.
Early prenatal check up
Just when your pregnancy test is positive you should visit your gynaecologist.First trimester is very important for your baby development.Risk of miscarriage is also more in first trimester. Regular antenatal checkups are a must so that any condition can be diagnosed early.Since gestation diabetes,hypertension are more common in women who are above 35 yr of age when they are pregnant.So regular screening for blood glucose,regular check up for blood pressure is very important.
Now we will discuss what are the tests required for genetic test.Some optional tests may be considered in pregnancy above 35. These are double marker and quadruple marker.These tests can predict risk of down syndrome and other chromosomal defects. But these tests are not confirmative and further testing with amniocentesis will be required if marker are positive.Ask your doctor about these tests and decide what is right for you.
All women who are planning to conceive should start daily intake of atleast 400 mcg of folic acid. It should be started atleast 3 month pre conceptional to fill the body stores. Any deficiency of folic acid in body can lead to severe neural tube defects in baby. This folic acid should be continued after pregnancy also.Taking folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects.This is helpful especially in pregnant women who are older than 35 yrs.
Due to late age of marriage, pregnancy after 35 years of age is being increasing. Some precautions, regular antenatal check-ups and special tests can help to make your pregnancy journey smooth and healthy.
Also Read : What are the Special care for Pregnant women ?