More and more older women are becoming pregnant, but pregnancy after 40 carries some risks. Here are 15 tips to help you have the healthiest pregnancy possible.
15 Rule out Any Medical Problems
If you’ve been regularly having unprotected sex for three months without getting pregnant, visit your doctor to see if there’s a reason you’re not conceiving. Some conditions, like PCOS, irregular periods, and STDs can make conception difficult.
14 Consider Visiting a Fertility Specialist
You or your partner may be referred to a fertility specialist for fertility testing. Your doctor may do a transvaginal ultrasound or check your Fallopian tubes to look for abnormalities and make sure everything is clear. Your partner may have a semen analysis to check for sperm quality and motility.
13 Do You Need Fertility Treatment?
Some doctors may prescribe medicine to help boost fertility. Medicines may be injected or taken orally.
12 Discuss Your Medications
Talk with your doctor about what medications you’re currently taking and what you can continue to take while you’re trying to conceive and while you are pregnant.
11 Doctor May Recommend Immunizations
Many doctors will suggest keeping up to date on vaccines such as measles, mumps, and chicken pox. You may have to wait to try conceiving after being vaccinated.
10 Discuss Risks
Talk with your doctor about your risks for high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, or other age-related pregnancy risks.
9 Prepare for Multiples
Naturally conceived twins (and even triplets) are more common for women in their 30s and 40s. Fertility treatments, like IVF, can also increase your chance of having multiple babies.
8 Consider Genetic Counseling
Genetic counseling can be done to help determine you and your partner’s chances of passing certain genetic traits or conditions onto your unborn child.
7 Eat a Healthy Diet
A balanced diet is important for any pregnant woman, no matter her age. It is important to make sure that you are getting the proper amount of nutrients to keep you (and that baby!) healthy and strong.
6 Take Your Vitamins
When you are trying to conceive, you should begin taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid. Folic acid improves your chances of conception by stimulating ovulation. It also aids the embryo in survival.
5 Maintain a Healthy Weight
The average woman should gain between 25-35 pounds during pregnancy. Check with your doctor about what weight is healthy for you.
4 Avoid Harmful Substances
Obviously, cigarettes and alcohol are dangerous, but keep in mind that there are lots of other harmful substances out there that may pose a risk to your unborn baby. Try to avoid having x-rays, and don’t dye your hair, as the risks aren’t fully known.
3 Limit Caffeine
Most experts say 200 milligrams of caffeine is safe—slightly more than what’s in one cup of coffee. But remember, caffeine isn’t just in coffee. Watch out for tea, soft drinks, and chocolate.
Pregnant women who exercise have less back pain, more energy, and sometimes return to their pre-pregnancy shape faster. Consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen.
1 Have a Plan
Discuss options for childbirth with your doctor. Many women over 40 give birth naturally, but the chance of having a c-section rises with age. Be sure to have a birth plan.