National Safe Motherhood Day 2024: Tips for pregnancy after 35; understanding risks and challenges | Health

National Safe Motherhood Day is being celebrated on April 11 in India. The day is observed to educate the masses about the challenges faced by new mothers and to spread awareness around safe pregnancy and postpartum support. Pregnancy is a life-transforming journey and maternal health during this time can impact safe and complication-free childbirth. From good nutrition to regular checkups, there are different aspects of a pregnancy that an expectant mother has to take into consideration. (Also read | Summer pregnancy: Dos and don’ts expecting mothers must follow)

National Safe Motherhood Day 2024: In case of pregnancy post 35, conditions like gestational diabetes, and high blood pressure, may make the journey challenging for the mother-to-be. (Freepik)

When it comes to pregnancy after the age of 35, there are certain challenges and risks that an expectant mother may face. As women age, risk for pregnancy-related complications may go up. Conditions like gestational diabetes, and high blood pressure, may make the journey challenging for the mother-to-be. Risk of premature birth or low birth weight is also higher. In order to have a safe pregnancy, it is advised to incorporate healthy lifestyle changes into your routine.

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Pregnancy post 35

“The decision to have children is a deeply personal one, and the ideal timing can vary greatly. While some women choose to start families young, others find themselves drawn to motherhood later in life. While pregnancy after 35 offers the benefits of established careers and secure relationships, it also comes with certain health considerations,” says Dr Garima Sawhney, Co-founder and Gynaecologist at Pristyn Care.

Challenges of pregnancy after 35

“One of the primary challenges is a decline in fertility. As women age, the number and quality of eggs decrease, making natural conception more difficult. Fortunately, fertility treatments can be a viable option for some. Another concern is the increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities in the baby. Conditions like Down syndrome become slightly more prevalent with advanced maternal age. Prenatal testing can help identify these concerns early on,” says Dr Sawhney.

“The physical aspects of pregnancy can also differ for older mothers. There’s a higher chance of pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. Premature birth and low birth weight are also more frequent. However, this doesn’t have to paint a bleak picture. Regular prenatal care with a healthcare provider experienced in high-risk pregnancies is crucial. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through proper diet and exercise can significantly improve the chances of a smooth pregnancy,” adds the expert.

Dr Nupur Gupta, director, obstetrics and gynaecology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, says pregnancy after 35 can come with certain risks and considerations.

The number of expectant moms aged above 35 years is now increasing worldwide. According to American College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (ACOG), pregnancy after 35 years comes with certain risks and considerations.

1. Increased risk of aneuploidies or chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome.

2. Decreased fertility: Fertility significantly declines with after 35 years, making it more challenging in late thirties and early forties.

3. Higher risk of spontaneous and missed miscarriages.

4. Likelihood of gestational diabetes is higher in women above 35.

5. High blood pressure and preeclampsia risk also increases.

6. Multiple pregnancies as a result of fertility treatments thereby increase risk of preeclampsia and diabetes.

7. Risk of preterm birth is higher leading to more NICU (neonatal ICU) admissions.

8. Caesarean delivery chances are more due to additional medical complications.

List of tests for expecting mothers

Dr Gupta also shares a list of tests a woman must undergo before planning pregnancy:

1. CBC

2. Blood group

3. Rubella IgG

4. Screening for thalassemia

5. Blood sugar

6. TSH

7. Vaccinations

8. Blood pressure check

9. BMI

“If women over 35 are planning pregnancy, they should visit their healthcare provider to discuss these potential risks and develop a personalised care plan to optimise their health. Regular prenatal care, healthy lifestyle choices, and open communication with healthcare professionals can help manage and reduce these risks,” concludes the expert.

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