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Pregnant at 40



No I'm not pregnant! I thought I was eight years ago. Imagine, if I had blogged "I'm 49 and I'm pregnant", would I cry or laugh if that happened? When I was 43 years old, I thought I wanted to have a fourth child. My obstetrician-gynecologist did a thorough physical checkup and declared that my eggs were that of a 39 year old woman. The hitch was my diabetes, which made me decide not to pursue another child.


The greatest advantage of being pregnant in our 40s is that one is emotionally and financially ready for them. Most of the disadvantages are more of health issues rather than lifestyle.


Any 40-plus women do get pregnant, some using fertility treatments and some not. My 42 year old cousin recently gave birth to her first child, after years of trying to get pregnant. She was so blessed because she got pregnant without any medical intervention. She stopped going to work and just stayed at home so she could have more rest. My cousin was aware that since she was older, she was more prone to hypertension and gestational diabetes but she exclaimed " thank heavens I did not have that probably because I still ate healthy and would just occasionally indulge."


Her worries were more about her baby if he would be healthy. She added "there is always the risk of having a baby with Down's syndrome at this age, although we had a congenital scan that ruled out possible genetic problems." Pregnant women over 40 are up to three times more likely to need a Cesarian section like my cousin.


If you plan to get pregnant at 40 years old and beyond, being well-informed is your first step.


1. Look for an obstetrician-gynecologist who is also known to handle infertility problems.

Be prepared for tests to check your fallopian tubes or your partner's sperm.


2. Have a thorough medical check up before you start trying to conceive.

Women over 40 are twice as likely as a younger woman to experience gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure, placenta praevia and placental abruption. Make sure any existing medical condition is in a stable, controlled state before considering pregnancy.


3. Time to make adjustments to your lifestyle

Be fit and keep a healthy weight. Cutting back on alcohol is best. If you smoke, now's the time to stop.


4. Take "prenatal vitamins with folic acid before you get pregnant to help prevent neural tube defects, particularly spina bifida".


5. Be informed about the "increased risk of genetic disorders (chromosomal abnormalities) and tests you may consider having during pregnancy to detect them. "


"Most women in their early and mid-40s do fine being pregnant," says Jeffrey M. Goldberg, M.D., professor and head of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the Cleveland Clinic Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. "The problem is getting pregnant—and staying pregnant—with a healthy baby." Just visit your doctor if you have plans on being pregnant at 40.


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