Gynecologist Dr Archana Dhawan Bajaj tells you how to have a safe and healthy pregnancy in your 30s.
While the chances of becoming pregnant after your 35th birthday are relatively lesser than that in the 20s, remember that you are not alone.
Many women, including celebrities that you admire, are delaying pregnancy into their 30s and beyond -- and delivering healthy babies.
Taking special care during those nine months and before can help give your baby the best start.
There are many steps you can take to better understand the risks associated with late pregnancy that will help with having a healthy baby.
While there is nothing magical about age 35, it’s simply an age at which various risks become more discussion worthy.
Make healthy choices and taking good care of yourself is the best way to take care of your baby.
Pay special attention to the basics en route a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby.
1. Go for preconception counselling
Have a detailed discussion with your healthcare provider and address any lifestyle changes to enhance your chances for a healthy pregnancy and baby.
In addition, get more information about how to boost the odds of conception – and ask for options if you have trouble conceiving.
Women at the age of 35 and beyond are more likely to have diseases like hypertension, diabetes and other comorbidities.
Moreover, with advancing age, diseases like pregnancy induced hypertension, pre-existing hypertension, gestational diabetes, pre-existing diabetes, osteoporosis, hyperlipidaemias are more likely and may add to the risk of pregnancy and pregnancy related outcome
2. Regular prenatal care
Monitor your health as well as your baby’s health with regular prenatal visits.
Do not forget to mention any signs or symptoms that concern you.
Remember, a heart-to-heart talk to you healthcare provider is critical to put your mind at ease.
3. Maintain a healthy diet
A healthy diet during pregnancy is extremely important to have healthy baby and a safe pregnancy.
During this period, you’ll need more than usual quantity of calcium, iron, vitamin D, folic acid and other essential nutrients.
Ideally, a daily prenatal vitamin starting a few months before conception -- can help fill any gaps.
4. Weight check
Gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy not only supports your baby's health, but it also makes it easier for you to shed the extra pounds after delivery.
Too much or too little weight gain during pregnancy is of concern, so it is important to work with your healthcare provider to check how much weight gain is right for you.
5. Stay active
Regular physical activity during pregnancy has multiple benefits for the mother and baby as well -- it helps ease discomfort, boosts energy levels and improves your overall health.
Additionally, it helps prepare for labor and childbirth by increasing your stamina and muscle strength.
Check with your healthcare provider before you start an exercise program, especially if you have any underlying medical condition.
6. Control your exposure to chemicals
While it may not be feasible to stay in a chemical free environment, as far as possible, protect yourself from chemicals at home or work that may be harmful to your baby and reduce your stress.
7. Quit smoking
Smoking during pregnancy is the biggest risk factor for serious complications and has also been shown to damage the DNA of your baby.
8. Avoid illegal/recreational drugs
Illegal drugs are clearly off-limits during this special time for every woman.
Before you pop up any medications or supplements, clear with your gynecologist.
9. Stop drinking alcohol
Alcohol intake during pregnancy increases the risk of complications and this is especially true during the first three months of pregnancy as this is the time when the baby’s brain is developing.
10. Testing for chromosomal abnormalities
The chances of chromosomal abnormality rises significantly after 35. Therefore, it is all the more important to consult your healthcare provider to screen for certain chromosomal abnormalities in a developing baby.
Prenatal screening with first trimester NT/NB ultrasound, biochemical screening like double marker is used to ascertain the increased chance for specific chromosome problems.
Other tests such as NIPT (non invasive prenatal testing), amniocenteses, anomaly scan can be used in prenatal screening for checking any physical abnormalities in the growing baby. However, certain diagnostic tests carry a slight risk of miscarriage. Therefore, your health care provider can help you weigh the risks and benefits.
Dr Archana Dhawan Bajaj is a gynecologist, obstetrician and IVF Expert at Nurture IVF Centre, Delhi.