Because fertility in women declines with age, our fertility center in NY sees many hopeful mothers in their 30s, 40s or older. Thanks to precise infertility diagnosis and assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF, ICSI and donor eggs, advanced maternal age and pregnancy is becoming increasingly more common. In fact, one in five of today’s moms gives birth at age 35 or beyond.
While having a baby is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for many of these women, advanced maternal age and pregnancy is not without risk. Thankfully, by focusing on your health during your pregnancy and taking advantage of available medical care, you can increase the chances that you and your baby will stay healthy throughout pregnancy and in the years to come.
While pregnancy problems are the exception rather than the norm for women of any age, pregnant women older than 35 do have an increased risk for certain complications.
You can prevent some of these problems by taking good care of yourself during your pregnancy. Eat healthy foods, stay hydrated and try to maintain a healthy pregnancy weight. Pregnancy is a great excuse to take it easy when you need to, but don’t let it be an excuse to stop exercising.
Advanced maternal age and pregnancy also means that you should skip that beer, wine or cocktail, and never smoke or use drugs. Take prenatal vitamins before and during pregnancy to make sure you and your baby are getting the nutrients you both need.
If you’re a mom-to-be in your late 30s or 40s, don’t skip any prenatal care checkups, as your OBGYN needs to see you regularly to check on the health of you and your growing baby. Stay on top of any existing medical conditions and get all recommended vaccinations to avoid getting dangerously ill while you’re pregnant.
Your OBGYN can also order prenatal testing that can help to put your mind at ease about the health of your baby. Cell-free fetal DNA screening, blood screening and ultrasound can identify whether your baby is at risk for birth defects. If warranted, further diagnostic tests, such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling, can definitively diagnose certain birth defects or genetic abnormalities in your baby before he or she is born.
For most moms experiencing advanced maternal age and pregnancy, carrying a child is one of the most awe-inspiring and intensely loving experiences of their lives. Relax and enjoy these precious days, take lots of belly pictures and get plenty of rest. When you finally meet your beautiful baby for the first time, you’ll be sure to say you would do it all again in a heartbeat.
To learn more about advanced maternal age and pregnancy, contact our fertility center in NY.