Pregnancy in Your Early 30s – Everything You Need to Know
It’s no secret that children cost a lot of money to raise – if you’re like most women, you’ve put off having babies until you’ve established yourself in your career and built up extra padding in your bank account. But, now that you’re finally drawing an enviable monthly paycheck, you realize that you’re past 30.
Later pregnancies are a concern for many women; your decision to add a chubby one into your family probably comes with many questions. Have you missed your chance to have a child? Would you be putting your baby at increased risks of congenital disabilities?
Don’t fret – we’ll show you in this article that getting pregnant in your 30s can still be safe.
Pregnancy after the big 30
Nearly no woman, who’s hit the big 30, is spared from being reminded of her ticking biological clock. So – is it true? Have the number of your eggs dwindled by so much that you’re now considered infertile?
Well, not exactly. A 2004 study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology found that the fertility of women in their late 20s and early 30s was almost identical. Yes – read that again, identical! The study suggests that there isn’t a ‘fertility switch’ that suddenly turns off the moment you blow out your birthday candles on your 30th birthday.
So – as long as you’re healthy and have regular ovulatory cycles, you’re just as likely to get pregnant as you were a few years ago when you were vying for your company’s executive role.
But, is pregnancy in your 30s safe?
As long as you are healthy and free from any existing co-morbidities – such as diabetes and hypertension – you typically don’t have much to fret over.
If you take good care of yourself and follow your doctor’s orders, the risk of pregnancy complications – ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, and scheduled C-section birth – is roughly the same as they would be if you were in your late 20s.
On the contrary, if you do have any existing health conditions that could impede a healthy pregnancy, you’re advised to speak with your doctor about steps you can take to reduce your health risks. When possible, you should schedule this discussion well in advance of becoming pregnant; this gives you sufficient time to carry out your doctor’s plans.
Okay – what about the baby?
It’s an unfortunate truth that the quality of your eggs decreases as the years go by; the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in a baby increases with maternal age.
Specifically, the chance of having a child affected by Down syndrome – a condition that happens when a conceived baby has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21 – increases from about 1 in 1383 for a woman who gets pregnant at age 25, to about 1 in 338 for a woman who conceives at 35 years old.
Nonetheless, it’s essential to keep in mind that you can significantly reduce the risks associated with a later pregnancy by being as healthy as you possibly can, before conceiving.
Preparing for pregnancy
Once you’re committed to having a baby, it’s crucial for both you, and your partner to carve out time in your schedules for a session of pre-conceptional counseling – before you get pregnant. During the meeting, your health care provider will review your medical history in detail.
Based on the available information, your health care provider may suggest lifestyle changes that may need to be made (on your part) to help ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby.
These suggestions may include regular exercise, weight loss, quitting smoking, abstaining from any medication that could be harmful to a developing fetus, and the inclusion of recommended dietary supplements in your daily meals.
I’m pregnant – what do I do?
Congratulations! You’re now carrying a little one in your womb. So, what can you do to stave off possible pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes, or pregnancy-induced hypertension? The answer is a healthy lifestyle.
Healthy Pregnancy Diet
No, you cannot “eat for two” just because you’re pregnant. And more importantly, you cannot eat as much as you desire. Nothing could be further from the truth.
What you eat and the weight you gain has implications for both the short-term and long-term health of your developing baby. A poor pregnancy diet increases the chance of prematurity, preeclampsia, low birth weight, and stillbirth.
Specifically, in the first trimester, you do not need to consume any additional calories than you did before pregnancy. For the remainder of your pregnancy, you only need an extra 250 – 300 calories per day. Just in case you were wondering what 300 calories look like: it’s a cup of cereal and a small banana.
But – what does a healthy diet look like, exactly? What should you eat? Well, here’s a rough dietary guide:
- Complex carbohydrates – 4 to 5 servings
- Fruits and vegetables – 4 to 6 servings
- Protein – 4 servings
- Calcium-rich foods – 4 servings
- High-fat items – Consume sparingly
You’re recommended to take prenatal vitamins during pregnancy due to their folic acid content. If you’re eating a perfect diet, you don’t necessarily need to take additional vitamins. But let’s be honest – how many of us eat perfectly, every single day? Better safe than sorry.
Being fit throughout pregnancy can help ward off common pregnancy ailments, such as backaches and constipation. Also, if you haven’t realized – the process of pushing out a baby during childbirth requires nearly as much exertion as running a marathon.
Given that you wouldn’t dream of running 42 KM without training for it, why would you approach delivery any differently? Exercise during pregnancy is training for the marathon of labor.
So – what kind of pregnancy exercises should you do? The three that come into mind immediately are walking, swimming, and yoga. Also, if you’d followed an exercise program before you got pregnant, you will only need to tweak it as you progress in your pregnancy.
Of course, you should first clear all your exercise plans with your health care provider.
It’s entirely possible for you to have a healthy baby when you’re in your early 30s. You need to be mindful of cultivating healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating right and exercising, that minimizes the potential pregnancy complications associated with advanced maternal age.
Ultimately, the perfect time to have a baby is when it feels right to you. You never have to feel bad about waiting to have children until you feel more confident – both emotionally and financially.
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