Having a baby after age 40 is more common than ever before. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average age of a first pregnancy has risen by 4 percent since 2006. Pregnancy after age 40 has its challenges. But as with all pregnancies, staying healthy can decrease complications and increase your chances of having a healthy baby.
1. Schedule a Prenatal Check-UP
Schedule an OB/GYN checkup as soon as you think you are pregnant. If this is not your first pregnancy you may be tempted to wait, but as a 40-plus mom, it’s more important than ever to get at health assessment. Talk to your doctor about any health issues you have, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, as each of these can lead to pregnancy complications.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet
Busy 40-plus moms are often nutritionally deficient. Improving your diet increases the likelihood of a healthy mom and healthy baby. Foods rich in folate, such as citrus fruits, legumes and dark leafy greens help prevent anemia and birth defects.
3. Increase Activity
Healthy exercise, like walking and swimming is good for both you and baby. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight and prepares you for childbirth. Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program, and start slowly to prevent injury and overexertion.
4. Take Prenatal Vitamins with Folic Acid
Getting all the folic acid you need from the foods you eat is difficult, so taking a prenatal vitamin that contains folate is important. Prenatal vitamins have other nutrients necessary for a healthy pregnancy. Your doctor will give you a prescription for prenatal vitamins at your first visit.
Photo credits by by Kiko Alario Salom