Pregnancy After 40: When Your Bundle of Joy Comes Later In Life5 min read
Health tips when you're pregnant after 40.
I always consider myself heng for getting pregnant when I was still young. Now that Bobby and Cathy are old enough, I don’t have to worry about them so much. The best part is that I’m still young enough to have the energy to do what I want. But hor, recently, my neighbour got an unplanned pregnancy after 40!
Wah jialat, if it happened to me, me and Uncle Tng’s retirement plans will be gone case liao. But my neighbour doesn’t think like that. In fact, she thinks it’s a blessing and is keeping the child! As such, I help accompany her to the doctor whenever her husband isn’t around. As such, I picked up a few things to take note of in case anyone of you get pregnant when you’re older.
You absolutely need to get checked by the doctor
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Just because you want to have a child, doesn’t mean you can. Now that your body is older, there are more things you need to take note of when carrying your child. That’s why you should book an appointment with a gynaecologist ASAP to see if it’s safe for you to continue with the pregnancy.
Health risks to take note of
Assuming your body is healthy and it’s okay to continue with the pregnancy, you still need to be aware of the risks that can develop as you’re carrying your baby. As such, it is also important to schedule a Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) to determine the chances of your fetus being born with certain genetic conditions. You can do it as early as 10 weeks into the pregnancy and it simply involves a single blood draw.
1. Chromosomal disorders
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Studies have shown that older women are more likely to give birth to a baby with chromosomal disorders such as Down syndrome. If you are aged 35 to 44, the risk is about 1 in 400. For those aged 45 and above, that risk increases to 1 in 30.
2. Gestational diabetes
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Gestational diabetes is more common in pregnant older women as women get older. It can happen at any time during the pregnancy but is more common in the third trimester. If untreated, it can cause your baby to grow significantly larger, increasing the risk of injury during delivery.
3. Preeclampsia –
High blood pressure to other organs
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Preeclampsia happens when your blood pressure is so high that it damages other organs, namely your liver and kidneys. It usually develops after your 20th week of pregnancy and its symptoms include severe headaches, nausea, and urinating less frequently.
4. Birth complications
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You have to be mentally prepared for any birth complications that can happen along the way. These include having a low birth weight baby and premature birth. Older mothers also tend to have other complications that require a C-section delivery.
How to increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy
If you’re still proceeding with the pregnancy, here are some ways to increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy.
1. Take prenatal vitamins ASAP
By right, you’re supposed to take it 3 months before your pregnancy. But since yours is unplanned, bo bian lor. What’s important is that you take a vitamin that contains at least 0.4 milligrams of Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) to help prevent neural tube birth defects.
2. See the doctor regularly
Remember hor, since you’re older, it is super important that you don’t miss your gynecology appointments. The doctor will be able to keep a close eye on your health and detect if any complications arise.
3. Live a healthy lifestyle and take extra care of yourself
This goes without saying but you need to live a healthy lifestyle for the sake of your baby. This means exercising regularly, eating healthy foods, and eliminating smoking and drinking from your life. Make sure there’s always someone accompanying you whenever you’re out and be sure to have your doctor’s details on you in case anything unexpected happens when you’re outside.
4. Don't hesitate to reach out and ask for help
Taking care of yourself is not just about your physical health, but your mental health as well. Talking to someone about your problems will help bring down your mental stress, whether it’s with your spouse or loved ones. You can also try joining forums and mummy groups so that you can seek advice or just chat with mothers in the same situation as you.
Having a baby when you're over 40
Pregnancy is one of life’s greatest pleasures and I’m so happy that you decided to experience it even when you’re older. Just be sure to pay extra attention to your body and health during this period and hopefully, you’ll give birth to a healthy baby in no time.
Once you’ve become a mother, be sure to read our articles for tips to not be a Superwoman and overwork yourself.
The family’s pillar of strength, affectionately called Umommy by the kids because she makes the best umami soups! Soft-spoken, generous and giving, she’s the official peacemaker of the family, helping to hold things together when times are bad.