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The age at which women choose to start a family is getting higher and higher every year. Many women want to focus on their degrees and careers before they choose to establish themselves as mothers.
Actually, almost 20% of women today wait to start a family in their mid-30s and later. More mature women usually make smart lifestyle choices and have more experience when it comes to facing responsibilities.
Late-life pregnancy also carries a few challenges that younger mothers don’t have to think about. Luckily, medicine and science are moving quickly, and today, you can have a great shot at having a happy and healthy pregnancy after 35.
Here are all the things you need to know if you’re planning on becoming a 35+ mom.
1. Know the risks
This is the most important thing to get informed on. While most women in their 30s get healthy and happy little bundles of joy, there are some risks you should keep in mind. More than 10% of all women aged between 15 and 44 have issues with infertility or carrying their pregnancy to term.
Once you turn 35, the possibility of having difficulties when conceiving rises due to a decreased number of eggs and the body’s lowered ability to release them.
The aforementioned issues with conceptions usually push parents to seek fertility treatments to increase the possibility of twins or multiples. Most multiple births end up with premature birth, so you need to be ready to closely monitor your pregnancy.
And finally, there’s an increased possibility (even though small) that your baby experiences chromosomal abnormalities. In mothers older than 35, the possibility of having a baby with Down syndrome increases from 1 out of 1,250 births to 1 in 400 births. You can opt for screening tests that will detect chromosomal abnormalities very early in your pregnancy.
2. Make some lifestyle changes
If you want to boost your chances of getting pregnant, you need to start leading a healthier life, but first, try to understand your menstrual cycle. The average cycle lasts for 28 days, but it can vary greatly (from 20 to 40 days).
If you have a regular cycle, keep in mind that you will probably ovulate 2 weeks before you get your period, so use that as the best time to try conceiving.
Now, both you and your partner need to be as healthy as possible—this will not only boost your possibility of pregnancy but also improve your entire life. When trying to get pregnant after 35 you need to ditch your unhealthy habits and embrace a smarter approach to life.
For instance, stop smoking and reduce your alcohol intake. Also, pay attention to your weight and ensure you’re taking in all the beneficial nutrients your body needs.
3. Be familiar with treatments
If you have trouble getting pregnant, it’s important to know about all the different treatments you have available. The treatment usually depends on the cause of the conception issues, so you first need to analyze that. In order to get your answers, you and your partner need to have a number of fertility tests such as STI tests, ultrasounds, and sperm count checks.
When you get the results, your doctor will suggest one of the following therapies: hormone therapy, IVF and its variations or artificial insemination. While all of these can work, there are no guarantees. It depends on the number of cycles, age, and health.
For example, women over 35 have a 10% chance of getting pregnant after one IVF cycle, but a 30% chance after 8 cycles.
4. Be ready for antenatal care
Once you manage to get pregnant, it’s important to practice good antenatal care. Pregnant women over 35 need to keep a careful eye on gestational diabetes, high BP, genetic defects and multiple pregnancies.
Luckily, if you find a good doctor or midwife, you can discuss genetic counseling and consider performing various tests like amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling.
During prenatal cell-free DNA screening, the doctor will take a DNA sample from a maternal blood sample and get it tested for certain chromosome problems like Down syndrome.
All of these tests provide useful information about your kid’s chromosomes, but they carry a small risk of miscarriage. It’s best to consult with your doctor and weigh the pros and cons.
The health choices you make before and during your pregnancy will affect your pregnancy and leave an effect on the baby. Make sure to concentrate on your physical and mental health. Do all the tests and preparation and enjoy the process of conceiving your most precious gift.
Morgan Rose Elliott is an aromatherapist, yoga instructor, animal lover, a happily married mother of three. She enjoys reading biographies and writing poems, sunny days on the beach and any shape and form of vanilla. Crazy about the ’80s, her favourite band is Duran Duran (although kids prefer Franz Ferdinand, and the husband Blink182) and she is obsessed with Netflix original Stranger things.