Becoming pregnant is a joyful and thrilling time in any woman’s life, and excellent prenatal care is critical to ensure that you have a comfortable pregnancy and a healthy baby. If you’re over 35 and expecting, however, there are special things to think about and discuss with your doctor throughout your pregnancy.
Dr. Peter Khamvongsa and the caring team at the Miami Institute for Women’s Health provide advanced prenatal care with heart, and treat every mother-to-be as unique — just as every pregnancy is.
What is different about being pregnant if you’re over 35?
At this stage of life, pregnancy puts you at higher risk for certain complications. These include:
1. Preterm labor
Babies born too early are at risk for having a low birth weight, as well as a range of developmental and medical problems.
2. Gestational diabetes
If this condition develops during pregnancy, it must be monitored and managed well. Babies can grow larger than normal if you have gestational diabetes that’s untreated, and this can lead to delivery problems. You also have a higher chance of developing pregnancy high blood pressure (preeclampsia) or having a premature birth.
Developing high blood pressure during pregnancy can impede how your liver, kidney, and other organs function. The condition can also cause vision problems and headaches.
4. Birth defects
Birth defects, such as Down Syndrome, are more common in babies of women who become pregnant after 35. Dr. Khamvongsa may recommend more screening and diagnostic tests, such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling for you.
If you’re an older mom, there’s a higher risk of needing a C-section, having a multiple pregnancy (and accompanying complications), and having a miscarriage or stillbirth as well.
This list may look daunting and even a bit scary, but what it really should do is make it clear how important excellent prenatal care is when you become pregnant after age 35. Every woman, no matter what her age, needs good prenatal care, but these risk factors bring home how vital this care is for women who are 35+.
In addition to seeing Dr. Khamvongsa regularly throughout your pregnancy, there are things you can do to lower your risk for experiencing these complications. Eating well and taking your prenatal vitamin, exercising regularly, and managing any chronic conditions you live with, such as diabetes, go a long way in ensuring a pregnancy without complications. Refraining from tobacco and drug use, as well as alcohol, is also essential.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the number of older mothers who have given birth to their first child has increased steadily over the last 40 years.
If you’re considering getting pregnant after age 35 or you’re pregnant now and over 35, call our office at 786-220-2184 to set up an appointment with Dr. Khamvongsa, or book one online. Together, you can create the best plan for you to reduce your risk for the complications covered here.