Are You Going To Wait A While, Like Janet Jackson? Babies After 35 Are Considered High-Risk Pregnancies

October 14, 2016  |  

Corbis

Corbis

Hey moms (and prospective moms) over 35, are you afraid of having a baby this late in the game? Are you looking at Janet Jackson like, “I’m going to wait, too.” Or “How’d she do that?” The reason I ask is not for me (I had my daughter 10 years ago at 34), but I’ve been talking to my cousin whose last doctor’s visit was a bummer.  She told me she asked her gynecologist about having a baby at 38-years-old, and she told me that by the look on her gynecologists’ face, it didn’t appear to be a good idea. The doctor didn’t rule out getting pregnant. She just told my cousin that she has to think long and hard about the journey, and what that could entail.

The gynecologists views were tied to the fact that I had a high-risk pregnancy before, so facing the gun and trying to have another would not only increase my risks of having another preemie, but the pregnancy would be a health risk to myself as well. If you search internet forums, you will find many moms who had children well into their 30’s and 40’s. Wait! Some had children in their 50’s. And during those age ranges, many babies came out fine. So what’s all this hype about the dangers of late pregnancies? True, there are very real risks such as preclampsia, diabetes, high-blood pressure and very real birth defects. But if you follow the careful instructions noted by your doctor, such as monitoring your weight, taking prenatal pills, and sticking to all of your baby check up visits, chances are you are good to go.

If you are like me, and you are thinking about having another baby, a little later than most, WebMD suggests:

Get early and regular prenatal care. The first eight weeks of your pregnancy are very important to your baby’s development. Early and regular prenatal care can increase your chances of having a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby. Prenatal care includes screenings, regular exams, pregnancy and childbirth education, and counseling and support.

Getting prenatal care also helps provide extra protection for women over 35. It allows your doctor to stay ahead of health conditions that are more common in women who are older when they get pregnant. For instance, your age may increase your risk for gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, a condition that causes high blood pressure along with protein in the urine. During prenatal visits, your doctor will check your blood pressure, test your urine for protein and sugar, and test your blood glucose levels. That way, any potential problems can be caught and treated early.

Consider optional prenatal tests for women over 35. Your doctor may offer you special prenatal tests that are particularly applicable for older moms. These tests help determine the risk of having a baby with a birth defect. Ask your doctor about these tests so you can learn the risks and benefits and decide what’s right for you.

Take prenatal vitamins. All women of childbearing age should take a daily prenatal vitamin containing at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. Getting enough folic acid every day before and during the first three months of pregnancy can help prevent defects involving a baby’s brain and spinal cord. Taking folic acid adds an important level of protection for older women, who have a higher risk of having a baby with birth defects.Some prenatal vitamins have 800-1000mcg(1mg)folic acid. This is still safe in pregnancy. As a matter of fact, some women need more that the 400mcg for protection against birth defects. Do not take more than 1000-mcg(1mg) folic acid.

If you don’t have any significant health issues, taking the steps towards preparing your body for the joy that pregnancy brings could be a breeze.

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