New Delhi: Looking at celebs like Kareena Kapoor, Shilpa Shetty, Anita Hassanandani and others beautifully embrace motherhood in their thirties and early 40s, many women have questions about how safe it is to get pregnant after their twenties, what complications can arise and what steps they can take to ensure a smooth pregnancy.
We got in touch with Dr Sonal Kumta, consultant, High-risk Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Fortis Hospital Mulund, Mumbai to answer these questions. Here’s what the doctor has to say on this:
Women are getting pregnant in their late 30s and early 40s. What is your take on it?
Well, this a trend but personally I feel a woman should embrace motherhood when she feels confident and comfortable about her life and her body. Embracing motherhood in the late 30s and early 40s is fine, it is about what works for you as an individual. If a woman is socially, financially, health-wise, work-wise settled, and stable, then I would urge to plan conception before the age of 35 years. However, if a female is unable to plan a pregnancy or wants to delay it for any reason; it might be wise to freeze the eggs and plan conception whenever the time is right and also conceive with the help of Assisted Reproductive Techniques if natural conception is a problem.
How to have a smooth first pregnancy in the late 30s or early 40s?
Between 30-40s women can develop ovulation issues making it difficult for conception. However, they can conceive spontaneously or with the help of some assisted reproduction techniques. Pregnancy can be smooth if it is carefully monitored along with the right dietary practice, timely and regular medication, regular exercise, and reduced day-to-day stress. And of course, a very close follow-up with the obstetrician; wisely monitoring the pregnancy so that if any high-risk issues come up, they can be addressed immediately and effectively by the health provider. At the same time, women also need support from their families to help them get through the pregnancy.
What are the complications that can arise?
If women conceive above the age of 35 years, pregnancy is termed a high-risk pregnancy. The complications commonly found are pregnancy-induced Hypertension, Gestational Diabetes, and Thyroid with pregnancy. We may also see some fetal growth problems like Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR), low birth weight, and preterm birth.
We have observed a higher incidence of fetal and genetic complications like Down’s Syndrome with advancing maternal age.
Steps to take to ensure a smooth pregnancy in your 30s?
Some of the tips to ensure a smooth pregnancy in your 30s are:
- Take folic acid tablets starting three months before you decide to conceive. As per the dosage advised by the doctor.
- Maintain a healthy diet by eating plenty of fresh fruits and plenty of vegetables
- Regular exercising
- Regular medication as advised by the doctor
- Avoiding alcohol, smoking and consumption of tobacco
- Reduced stress
- Pre-conception counselling before planning your pregnancy
What options are available for women who want to conceive in their 30s?
Nowadays it is common to embrace pregnancy in the mid-30s and deliver a healthy baby too. Though, in the mid and late 30s, the fertility rate starts declining and continues to reduce steadily until menopause. If females are not conceiving naturally, they may resort to Assisted Reproductive Techniques like – Ovulation Induction, Planned or timed intercourse, IUI, IVF, and Freezing eggs at an early age.