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Don't give up on a baby

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

You can be a mother even if you have chosen to wait till after the age of 35, says Dr Ragini Agrawal

At 35 years of age and above, if you are planning a child, bet it’s a child already loved and well-wanted, and you would do everything to have a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby. Pregnancy in women 35+ is a challenging situation due to multiple reasons, such as changing hormonal conditions, including thyroid disorders, other associated diseases, and decreasing number of eggs and their declining quality.With the mother’s advancing age, chances of chromosomally abnormal babies increase exponentially. Many women may have comorbidities like mild hypertension or early diabetes.

Despite such a dire-sounding scenario, you don’t need to give up on your baby dreams just because you chose to wait! Here’s a list of handy tips that may help you sail through an otherwise difficult but a most beautiful time of your life.

These you must DO if you are 35+ and courting pregnancy

Pre-pregnancy counselling is a must. Best to start your sessions with a qualified professional three months prior to planning a pregnancy.

Correct your anaemia, vitamin D and B12 levels. Start with folic acid.

Get yourself medically evaluated in detail for thyroid, diabetes and blood pressure. If already suffering from chronic diseases, optimise your health. Sometime medications have to be changed when conception is an issue.

Correct your weight. Whether you have an obese or an under-nourished body, both are not conducive for fertility and pregnancy. So, take care of your weight. Join a gym, go for aerobics – do not procrastinate.

Even if your weight is optimum, regular exercise is mandatory.

Don’t forget the fertility evaluation of your partner whenever fertility issues are discussed. Sometimes the male partner evaluation comes in too late.

These you must NOT DO if you are 35+ and courting pregnancy

Take refined flour and sugar Modify your diet to cut out refined flour and sugar as they cause more oxidative radicals.

Smoking and taking alcohol Stop smoking and alcohol intake.

Stress is one of the biggest factors which can derail everything. Try to relax, enjoy, indulge in your hobbies. Take a sabbatical from work, build in more ‘me’ time.

One very important thing Discuss your sex life. Don’t become mechanical. It leads to stress on your partner too. Change your routine, get creative.

Do not wait too long to conceive If you are not able to conceive in six months, it is prudent to visit a fertility expert, as with age, the quality of eggs deteriorates and chances of other gynaecological diseases like fibroid, endometriosis increase.

P.S. Women may also go through silent or unspotted miscarriages and never know. Be aware of conditions like experiencing any pain, cramping, spotting or bleeding. Routine scans can throw light on your medical history and help you avoiding them in future.

Dr Ragini Agrawal is a gynaecologist and the Clinical Director at W Pratiksha Hospital.

Short Takes

While women over 35 can face various challenging situations if they want to conceive, some care will make all the difference.

Medical evaluations, counselling and weight control are essential so do not neglect these.

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