It may take a woman who is 45 a bit longer to get pregnant than a woman in her twenties and thirties, but it is possible. There is also an increased risk of pregnancy complications and certain genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome. Not all complications and conditions are predictable or preventable, however there are some things a woman can do to increase her chances of having a healthy baby. It is also important to remember many women over 45 have uncomplicated pregnancies and deliver healthy babies.
See a doctor before getting pregnant. Women over 45 are more likely to have existing medical condition, such as high blood pressure, heart conditions and thyroid problems. Get a complete physical and blood work to check for existing conditions. Treat any medical problems prior to conceiving.
Take 400 mg of folic acid a few months before getting pregnant and continue to take it during pregnancy. Although folic acid is important for pregnant women of all ages, in older women the risk of birth defects rises. Folic acid may help prevent certain defects.
Start prenatal care as soon as you find out your pregnant. Since complications may occur more frequently in women over 45, early monitoring may help diagnose problems and treat them. For example, gestational diabetes occurs more often in older moms-to-be, and it can have negative effects on a baby. If the condition is caught early, medication and lifestyle changes may help reduce complications.
Develop an exercise routine before you get pregnant. Women over 45 may have more delivery complications, such as delivery by cesarean section. Although not all delivery complication are preventable, being fit and healthy may help you have the needed stamina during labor.
Be diligent about following all guidelines suggested by your obstetrician. Don’t smoke or drink alcohol. Follow exercise guidelines, stay well hydrated, eat healthy and get enough rest. Women over 45 have a higher rate of miscarriage and premature labor. Following all pregnancy guidelines can increase your chances of carrying a baby to full term.
Consider seeing a perinatoligist, which is a doctor who specializes in high risk pregnancy. Women with a history of multiple miscarriages or women with existing medication conditions may benefit from seeing a specialist. Talk with your obstetrician about the need for a perinatoligist.