Women who want to become mothers always have one thing at the back of their minds- the dreaded biological clock. What if you missed the bus for some reason in your twenties and early thirties but are now ready to be a mother? Is it safe to become pregnant after 35? The good news is that many women in their late 30s and 40s, especially in this day and age, are becoming pregnant and having healthy babies. A late pregnancy also has definite positives. You are more financially secure, more experienced and mentally and emotionally ready for a child. Most late pregnancy issues can be avoided by consulting gynecologist or fertility specialist before you conceive. Which complications are common in late pregnancies? There are a number of complications that arise during a late pregnancy that need to be taken care of for the mother to get to a healthy delivery. Complications from chronic health problems Many women in their late 30s and 40s begin suffering from chronic health diseases like high blood pressure, heart and kidney problems, autoimmune diseases, and type 2 diabetes. These result in complications during pregnancy with higher risks of miscarriages, premature birth, low birth weight, and genetic disorders. Problems in conceiving This starts even before pregnancy. It is a known fact that fertility goes down after the age of 35 and it takes longer to conceive. As you get older, you have fewer and fewer eggs and it becomes more difficult for the sperm to fertilize the egg as well. In many cases, women have to use assisted reproductive technology. Such pregnancies are higher risk with a greater chance of a cesarean birth and have to be closely monitored. Preeclampsia Preeclampsia is a condition that is more common in pregnant women above the age of 40. It happens either right after pregnancy or after the 20th week of pregnancy. In this disease, a woman has high blood pressure and some organs like liver and kidneys don’t function optimally. Symptoms of preeclampsia include having protein in the urine, problems in vision and severe headaches. How can you avoid these complications? Luckily, a lot of these complications can be easily managed resulting in a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Make sure your chronic illnesses are managed before pregnancy It’s best to go to the doctor and make sure you are managing your chronic disorders even before conception. This will help you avoid unnecessary complications during your pregnancy. If you are not able to do so before pregnancy, do make it a point to do so in the early months of your pregnancy and go to an OB/GYN who is experienced in treating pregnant women with chronic diseases. A complete health checkup before conception is also a good idea, even if you don’t have any diagnosed chronic diseases. Prenatal testing While prenatal tests are recommended for all pregnant women they are especially important for older women due to the higher risk of genetic disorders for the baby. These can be done before conception as well to rule out chances of genetic diseases. Initial prenatal tests are screening tests which will only tell you if you are high risk or low risk for a disease. If you are found to be at a high risk for some diseases you can undertake diagnostic tests like amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling to find out with certainty. Prenatal vitamins Prenatal vitamins, especially folic acid, is even more critical for women who are over 35 than for others. Prenatal vitamins should ideally be started before conception itself as folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects and the neural tube often starts developing even before the mother comes to know she is pregnant. Get your lifestyle right It’s very important to have a healthy lifestyle, especially if you’re pregnant later in life. Having the right diet and exercise routine will go a long way in mitigating pregnancy related complications. It’s important to gain the right amount of weight in a healthy way during pregnancy and get regular physical activity. It’s even better if you don’t wait till you’re pregnant and adopt a healthy lifestyle before conception. It goes without saying that smoking, alcohol and drugs should be avoided completed as they are especially risky for older women. There is no substitute for self-care Stress can be one of the biggest risk factors when you’re pregnant. Make sure you take time out small indulgences like a trip to the parlour or the movies or long walks with your partner or meditation. The happier you are the better it is for the life growing inside you. With the right care and precaution, the complications related to a late pregnancy can be managed with relative ease. All over the world, the average age of giving birth is becoming higher, and what matters most is the love, comfort and security you can give to your child at this stage.
Potential complications of twin pregnancy
Written By MyloEditor142 Views
So, are you going to welcome double happiness? Congratulations on the twins! If double blessings are on your way and you are worried about the complications in your pregnancy, then it’s time for you to relax and educate yourself with all the possible twin pregnancy complications with this easy-to-understand guide-
Common Complications Associated with Twin Pregnancy
1. Preterm labor
When the delivery happens before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy, it is called as preterm delivery.
When you carry an additional fetus in your womb, the gestation period decreases.
The premature rupture of the ovarian membranes results in preterm labor.
Premature babies do not develop properly. They do not achieve a normal healthy weight before they are born. Low-birth-weight babies may be incapable of fighting infections.
These babies often need special care in a NICU.
2. Miscarriage risks
As compared to singletons, a twin pregnancy carries a higher risk of facing a miscarriage. But it is impossible to say how much higher the risk is, as most early miscarriages are not identified. Most of the miscarriages occur in the first trimester of the pregnancy. Sometimes one baby is lost but it does not have an adverse effect on the development of the second baby. Many early twin pregnancies are not discovered so this occurrence is more common in nature. Feeling sad and down is natural under these circumstances. But you do not have any control over it. Talk to your doctor to guide and support you better during this difficult time.
3. Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR)
One of the most common complications with a twin pregnancy is the growth issue. The growth rate of the twins begins to slow down at 29 to 32 weeks. IUGR occurs during the same phase when placenta cannot handle any more growth of the twins. IUGR is a condition in which a baby is smaller than is expected to be. Your body starts succumbing to the growth process as both the babies compete to obtain a sufficient amount of nutrients. Contact your gynecologist, as she may guide you by performing an ultrasound and measuring the size of your abdomen.
4. Placental Abruption
If the placenta detaches itself from the uterine wall before the time of delivery, it may lead to serious complications. Though it affects only 1 % of pregnant women, but chances of this condition are higher in twin pregnancies. In the case of a twin pregnancy, abruption may occur just after the first baby is delivered vaginally. Usually, C-section is advised to deliver the other baby.
5. Preeclampsia and High blood pressure
The chances of developing Preeclampsia are higher when you are expecting twins. High blood pressure can also be one of the complications that can pose serious threats to you and the unborn babies. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication marked by protein in the urine, high blood pressure, liver or kidney abnormalities. But with adequate parental care, it is possible to reduce the risk of developing a serious problem from preeclampsia.
Due to increased blood flow, iron level drops which cause anemia. Your doctor will prescribe you a suitable iron supplement to cope up with this condition. When you are suffering from anemia, your body feels drained and tired. This complication is more common in multiple pregnancies. Regular checkups are must to keep a track of anemia levels.
7. Heart Failure
It is also observed that 13% of the women who are expecting twin pregnancies suffer from the danger of heart failure. They are more likely to have the risk of heart failure as compared to a singleton.
8. Gestational Diabetes
This is one of the most common problems that occur in twin pregnancies. The resistance to insulin production increases due to the presence of two placentas. And it leads to a sudden increase in blood sugar level. Greater placenta size or elevated levels of the placental hormones are also some of the reasons that lead to gestational diabetes.
9. Birth Defects
Twin pregnancies can also have the risk of developing congenital abnormalities in the newborn twins. Heart abnormalities, gastrointestinal disorders, and neural tube defects are some of the common birth defects usually experienced in case of twin pregnancy.
10. Obstetric Cholestasis
This rare condition affects the liver. Many studies have revealed that Obstetric cholestasis is caused by pregnancy hormones estrogen and progesterone. Twin or multiple pregnancies produce a higher level of hormones that why it is more common in such kind of pregnancies. The most common symptom is extreme itching without rashes. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience something like this.
Prevention of complications
This is the most common question that people often have and we truly understand this. Twin pregnancies have little to do with your lifestyle or behavior. But an early confirmation that you are expecting twins may help you in a big way. This will help your doctor to detect, monitor or treat complications that may arise. It is highly recommended to make a note of these important points-
Mothers who carry more than 1 fetus need more proteins, calories, iron, and nutrients. So, you need to have a healthy diet. Proper hydration is highly recommended.
Be aware of all the warning signs associated with pre-eclampsia and other pregnancy complications that need immediate attention
More frequent prenatal visits help the doctor to monitor and treat the condition timely and effectively.
Seek doctor’s advice on doing some gentle exercises during your pregnancy and also attend all antenatal appointments.
Smoking is injurious to health and it is deadly during pregnancy. If you really want to do something for your babies, quit this bad habit now! Passive smoking may also create problems so ask your family members and visitors to smoke outside and make your home a smoke free zone.