How to Have a Healthy Pregnancy in Your Forties SKWomen in their forties may have a harder time getting pregnant since they are about 15 years from menopause and have a much lower number of eggs to be fertilized. Even if you do get pregnant, there’s also a higher risk for the baby. For many women who are pregnant in their forties, this can be a concern. With the proper help from your doctor and treatment, however, you can minimize this risk.

Talk to your Doctor

If you’re not already pregnant but are planning to conceive, make sure you have a full consultation with your doctor and schedule a physical to make sure you are healthy enough to conceive. Your doctor will be able to tell you if there’s anything you need to take care of before you try to get pregnant. You should tell your doctor about any medications you are currently taking, as well as any conditions you have. If you’re already pregnant and haven’t yet scheduled an appointment, make sure you talk to a doctor as soon as possible about whether or not to continue with the medications you’re using.

Since older women tend to have ovarian problems such as polycystic ovary syndrome or endometriosis, he or she will probably want to test you for these as well. If you’re experiencing any pain or illness in your daily life, such as back pain, you’ll want to address these issues before you conceive, since pregnancy may make them worse.

Improve Your Nutrition and Health

Even if you’re generally a healthy person, you’ll need to really watch what you put into your body. Increase your intake of nutrient-dense foods such as fresh vegetables and fruits. Increased risk of birth defects in older women means you’ll need to be watchful of the things you put into your body.

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Along with nutritious foods, add supplements such as folic acid and vitamins to your daily routine. You’ll should to start taking folic acid a few months in advance of conceiving, or immediately after you find out you’re pregnant. You should also exercise daily and consistently for heart health to help the baby grow. Walking or jogging is a great way to stay in shape while you’re pregnant, but be careful not too go too hard in the first trimester, since there is an increased risk of miscarriage in these months.

Avoid Stressful Situations

While it’s not always easy to avoid situations when stress arises, you should make your closest friends and family aware that you need to put out of the situation when stress arises. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol into the bloodstream, causing inflammation and a fast beating heart that, in turn, could be damaging to you and your baby during pregnancy.

A normal amount of stress shouldn’t harm your baby, but consistently stressful situations at work or home could have lasting and damaging ramifications that should be dealt with before it gets worse. Aside from stressful situations, you should also stay away from smoking or secondhand smoke, as this can increase infertility and a low birth weight for your newborn.

Understand your Risks and Situation

While it may seem that many people who are pregnant can carry a healthy pregnancy without trying, the risk of things that could go wrong increase significantly after age 40, and even more after age 45. One in two women over the age of 40 experience a miscarriage, so be knowledgeable about what you’re headed into if you’re trying to get pregnant. A high-risk pregnancy specialist, who can be found on LinkedIn, says your chances of having twins or triplets can increase as you age, particularly if using fertility medications or procedures. Make sure you understand what this possibility means for you and your existing family so you’re prepared to welcome multiple babies at a time into your life.

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Above all, you need to see your doctor throughout your entire pregnancy. If you are over 35, it is best to see a doctor who specializes in high-risk pregnancies.