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If you’re over the age of 35 and you are pregnant, you might have heard term “geriatric pregnancy.” mentioned Chances are you are not old enough to be shopping around for nursing home or senior living facility, so why would your pregnancy be considered geriatric. What’s up with this? Besides, after all, you’re young enough to have still able to have a baby – far from being able to get senior citizen discounts.
In the realm of medical healthcare, a geriatric pregnancy is one that happens at any time once a woman is over the age of 35. There are few things that you should expect if you are about to go through a geriatric pregnancy club.
The first thing is that you should know is that a geriatric pregnancy is only a name from the healthcare community that was created a very long time ago. However today more and more women are having babies after the age of 35. The number of women who are between the ages of 35 and 39 who had their first babies has grown significantly across in all race groups according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates.
In the past, physicians used the term to describe pregnancies that occurred in women over the age of 35 as “geriatric pregnancies.” However, today, for obvious reasons, doctors don’t use the term geriatric pregnancy anymore. Rather, when a woman is pregnant over the age of 35, doctors define her as a woman of “advanced maternal age.”
The number of women having their first children in their 40s has doubled. What as traditionally been defined as a geriatric pregnancy is clearly changing as the nature and traditional expectations of when women start their families evolve over time.
What are the risks of a geriatric pregnancy?
Because a woman has the same eggs that she is born with her entire life, there is a higher risk of abnormalities during pregnancies that happen later in life. According to BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, some of the dangers of advanced maternal age during pregnancy include:
- low birth weight in the baby
- cesarean section
- labor complications
- high blood pressure or hypertension in the mother, which can lead to a severe condition called
- preeclampsia, and an early birth for the baby
- chromosomal defects in the baby
- gestational diabetes, which also heightens the risk of diabetes later in life
- chromosomal abnormalities in the baby
- premature birth
Are there any benefits of a geriatric pregnancy?
It’s important to know that having a baby later in life is not just all about distressing news and health hazards. There is also significant parts of becoming a mom after you are the age of 35. For instance, the CDC states that in general, women who extend their wait to pregnancy have many benefits at their disposal. Older mothers often have more resources to care for their children, including higher education and incomes.
When should you speak with your doctor?
You should talk to your physician if you are pregnant over the age of 35 since your age will not decide the health and wellness of your pregnancy. One study identified that regrettably, women who are older might automatically dread that their labor, pregnancies, and births will be complicated due to their age. Moreover, in some situations, their fear may actually manifest into adverse outcomes. However, pregnancies over the age of 35 can be entirely healthy, so talk to your physician about how you can have the healthiest pregnancy possible for you and your child and what you can do to reduce your risk of complications.
Be sure to undergo steps to have a healthy pregnancy, such as:
- Eating a healthy diet. Within your pregnancy, you’ll require additional calcium, folic acid, iron, vitamin D and other essential nutrients. If you’re previously eating a healthy diet, maintain it. A daily prenatal vitamin — beginning a few months before conception — can help fill any gaps.
- Exercising regularly
- Try to get routine prenatal care. Regular prenatal visits will allow your doctor to monitor your health and your baby’s development. Notice any signs or symptoms that bother you. Talking to your doctor will likely to put your mind at ease.
- Losing the appropriate amount of weight to be within a healthy weight size before pregnancy
- Gain weight smartly. Gaining the proper amount of weight can boost your baby’s health — and grant some ease in shedding the extra pounds following delivery. Work with your prenatal care expert to figure out the wight what’s right for you.
- Stay active. Routine physical activity can help relax your body or even prevent discomfort, heighten your energy level and increase your overall health. It can also help you develop the strength needed for labor and childbirth by growing your stamina levels and muscle strength. Get your fitness care provider’s OK before commencing an exercise program, mainly if you have an underlying condition.
- Avoid hazardous substances. Alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs are off-limits throughout pregnancy. Clear any medicines or supplements with your health care provider early on.
- Find out more about regarding pre-natal scanning, or test for chromosomal abnormalities. Ask your physician about fetal cell-free DNA (cfDNA) screening, a method to screen for specific chromosomal abnormalities in a growing baby. During prenatal cell-free DNA screening, DNA from the mother and fetus is extracted from a maternal blood sample and screened for the increased risk for distinct chromosome problems, such as trisomy 13 and trisomy 18 or Down syndrome. Diagnostic tests such as chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis can also provide information about your baby’s chromosomes or the risk of specific chromosomal abnormalities, but also carry a slight chance of miscarriage. Your doctor can help you weigh the risks and benefits.