Healthy and Pregnant Over 35

January is Birth Defects Awareness Month and with more and more women waiting to have families well into their late 30’s and beyond we felt this is a topic worth revisiting.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in five women now wait until they’re 35 or older to have their first child. There may be some risks involved with a pregnancy conceived later in life, but a healthy lifestyle, along with regular visits to your Ob-Gyn can create a healthy pregnancy.

Oftentimes, women worry more about the risks of pregnancy at a later age than conception itself. While a woman’s fertility does decrease after the age of 30, certain risk factors associated with pregnancy do increase including:
• Higher risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure
• Greater risk of chromosomal abnormalities such as Down Syndrome
• Miscarriages and still birth
• Low birth weight

A pregnancy should be happy and welcomed news and planning should be no different. Increased risk factors and statistics should not be discouraging news. Often, statistics do not account for life style choices or pre-existing conditions. Here are a few tips to help you take the necessary steps toward a healthy pregnancy later in life:
• Schedule an appointment with your Ob-Gyn for a visit. Be very honest with your practitioner about any existing health conditions.
• Your Doctor may recommend additional testing such as genetic testing and counseling or sonograms.
• Begin taking pre-natal vitamin. Since folic-acid is important for prevention of birth defects, taking folic acid can add an important level of protection for older women.
• Exercise regularly; eat a well-balanced diet to maintain your weight. Gaining the appropriate amount of weight lessens the chance of your baby growing slowly and reduces the risk of preterm birth.
• Avoid smoking and drinking.

If you are interested in pre-pregnancy and fertility counseling, contact Jamaica Hospital Women’s Health Center at 718-291-3276 to make an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.