Can Late Pregnancies Be Healthy?
Today, an increasing number of women in urban India are opting for late pregnancies. Being financially secure before the first child is born is gaining precedence over being a young mother. Additionally, women in their mid to late 30s are, by and large, in better control of their emotions. However, this phenomenon of late motherhood is not without its detractors and myths; the most common one being that of a general belief that late pregnancies are unhealthy and riddled with complications. Today, Dr. Sweta Gupta - Consultant at Moolchand Fertility & IVF - helps us understand these ‘complications’ and answers our question of whether late pregnancies can be healthy, or not. Over to Dr. Gupta.
With the advent of science and technology
With advances in preconception and prenatal care, most women over the age of 35 can expect to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Some concerns in pregnancy may increase the risk for this population group, but with the advancement in medical science, good prenatal care and regular follow ups during pregnancy, such risks can be kept at bay.
Delayed pregnancy because of higher income and education
Women who have delayed pregnancy until after the age of 35 tend to have a higher level of education and a higher income. Education and income are key determinants of health. There are positive health implications for women who have a higher than average education and income; as well as for their children. Women who delay their first pregnancy may have more resources available to support their growing family.
Women who have waited to become pregnant until after the age of 35 are more likely to have carefully planned their pregnancy, which has some clear health advantages too. By planning a pregnancy, women can improve their health in the preconception period, and can start to prepare themselves for parenthood.
The myth of Down syndrome and late pregnancies
Generally, people believe that mostly Down syndrome babies are born to elderly mothers, but this is not true. In fact, according to the National Association of Down syndrome (USA), 80% of Down syndrome babies are born to women under 35 years of age. However, as risk can potentially increase with the mother’s age, ante-natal anomaly testing is recommended in late pregnancies. Despite the increased risk with age, the majority of babies born to elderly mothers are normal.
Things to take care of during pregnancy
- During preconception and early pregnancy adequate folic acid intake is very important one month before conception and at least 3 months after, to potentially reduce the risk and complications for the baby.
- Rubella immunization,
- Stop smoking and drinking,
- Regular exercise,
- Maintain correct BMI,
- Proper medical review before planning for pregnancy can help in getting good pregnancy outcome.
Typically, having a baby at an older age comes with more patience and tolerance. The calmer the single mother or couple is, the calmer the baby will be. Therefore, maturity is a huge advantage in late pregnancies.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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