Motherhood is a gift and blessing of nature. It is always a great feeling to be a mommy but there are situation that greatly increases the risk of complications in both mother and child. One of the situations in which pregnancy is considered high-risk is when you are having a baby after 40 years of age.
Ideally it is recommended to have your first baby before you turn 30. This is because chances of conceiving a child are very low after 40 years of age. Moreover, even with artificial or assisted techniques, the risk of miscarriage is very high and even if the pregnancy is continued to term, it carries a significant risk to overall health of the mother and baby.
Having a baby after 40 years of age increases the risk of various health issues or aggravation of pre-existing medical conditions. This includes:
The risk of all genetic issues and problems increases after 40 years of age. This includes Down syndrome, were the risk is approximately 1 in 100. Other issues like mental retardation and congenital anomalies are also seen more frequently in women who conceive after 40. Apart from that, most babies are born pre-maturely or with a low birth weight. Moreover, even after birth, these babies are known to have issues in lactation and are thus more likely to get sick as a result of infections.
It is very important to keep up with all your antenatal checkups and make sure you take all prescribed supplements. Due to high risk of neural tube defects, folate supplementation is very important. You may need more frequent antenatal testing and genetic counseling to avoid genetical or other congenital malformations in your baby. A healthy and nutritious diet is even more essential with an absolute restriction of exposure to cigarette smoking, alcohol and other beverages that may affect fetal growth or development. Moreover, maintain a healthy lifestyle and watch your weight gain during pregnancy to avoid further complications and issues.
Remember to always consult with your doctor!