More women are choosing to pregnant later in life. If you are over 35, getting pregnant may be more difficult – but not impossible. You and your baby may face increased risks, although a healthy lifestyle and proper prenatal care will minimise unexpected problems.
Your fertility declines by age 30, even more at 35 and definitely by 40. Your doctor may suggest fertility treatment. Your pregnancy chances are better if you are healthy, a non-smoker, not overweight and less stressed.
RISKS FOR MUM
RISKS FOR BABY
As an older mum, you will face an increased risk of gestational diabetes and hypertension during pregnancy. You are also more likely to face complications during delivery:
Placental abruption (placenta prematurely separates from the uterine wall, causing excessive bleeding)
Placenta previa (placenta lies low in the uterus, partly or completely covering the cervix)
Higher chance for a caesarean delivery.
It sounds scary, but don’t panic! More older women are now safely delivering healthy babies.
Risks of miscarriage, low birth weight and stillbirth are higher. Also, the chances of genetic abnormalities increase with age. Statistics indicate that a 40-year-old woman faces a 1-in-40 risk of having a baby with Down’s syndrome. Your doctor may suggest tests such as amniocentesis to predict the risk of genetic defects.
TIPS FOR A HEALTHY PREGNANCY
• Regular prenatal checks – the first 8 weeks are critical for your baby’s development.
• Your doctor will monitor your blood pressure, test your urine for protein and sugar, your blood for sugar and track your weight gain. Early treatment reduces risks of complications during delivery.
• Take vitamins, eat nutritious food and get regular exercise.
Above all, maintain a positive state of mind and enjoy your pregnancy!
Did you know that a mother’s immunity is passed on to her baby during pregnancy? This essential immunity is what protects a newborn during the first few months of life before he/she is vaccinated.
Before trying for a baby, it is advisable to be up-to-date on routine adult vaccinations. This is because certain vaccines that contain live strains of viruses (eg, varicella) may pose health risks for women who are pregnant. Depending on the vaccine, you may be required to avoid conception for a month after vaccination. On the other hand, vaccines that consist of inactivated strains are largely safe to be taken even as you try to get pregnant.
Not just for mothers
Vaccination is not just for mothers – would-be fathers would also do well to
get themselves up-to-date with routine vaccines. As newborns are vulnerable to infections, both parents, as well as other individuals who may be in close contact with the infant, should take care not to pass on any infections.
Which vaccines to get?
The specific vaccinations that you may need depend on factors, eg, your age, lifestyle, high-risk conditions (if any), type and locations of travel, and previous vaccinations.
When to vaccinate?
It’s best to get the vaccines as early as possible before you plan to have a baby. Consult your doctor for further information.
Source: MIMS HealthToday Malaysia