It’s official! You’ve probably heard by now that Kensington Palace has confirmed Meghan, Duchess of Sussex is expecting a royal baby in the Spring. The 37-year-old is absolutely glowing, and it got us thinking about conception and pregnancy after age 35, which is often considered the ‘tail-end’ of a woman’s peak reproductive years. Some news sources even dared to call Meghan’s pregnancy ‘geriatric’ – and if that doesn’t make you cringe, you might be shocked to learn that ‘geriatric pregnancy’ is an actual medical term for pregnant women over 35! (We know, we can’t believe this term is still in use, either…) The good news is that most doctors are moving away from the label, and instead focusing on supporting women through pregnancy, no matter their stage in life.
Today, most experts today will tell you that women can have happy, healthy pregnancies in their mid-30s and beyond – and while there’s nothing you can do to control your age, there are steps you can take to increase your chance of conception and reduce your risk of complications. The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG) says pregnancy over 35 is becoming increasingly common – so if you’re over 35 and thinking of starting a family, you’re not alone! As many women decide to further their careers, build supportive relationships and achieve financial stability, the average maternal age continues to climb. With this in mind, RCOG stresses that “women should be supported, rather than constrained, in their life choices” and with the help of a doctor, women should feel empowered to choose what works best for them, their partners and their lifestyle.
If you’re over 35 and planning for pregnancy, congratulations on taking this exciting step! With just a few simple adjustments, you’ll be well on your way to a happy, healthy pregnancy. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Chow down. Healthily, of course. A recent review published by Harvard Medical School found a positive link between diet and fertility. Diets rich in folic acid, vitamin B12 and Omega-3 fatty acids tend to increase chances of conception; while diets high in caffeine, refined sugars and red meats tend to make conception a bit more difficult. Researchers explained that the ‘Mediterranean Diet’ (a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and oily fish) is particularly helpful for women when TTC.
- Get educated. With thousands of pregnancy-related books, blogs and podcasts out there, it’s easier than ever to prepare for pregnancy. You might also benefit from attending group antenatal classes in your area, where you can learn from your peers, swap stories and support one another as you begin your unique pregnancy journey. Plus, be sure to sign up for Baby2Body’s Planning For Pregnancy emails to get your body and mind ready for baby.
- Break a sweat. Exercise is always a good idea, particularly when TTC. Not only will a cardio-focused exercise regimen strengthen your heart, help you maintain a healthy body weight and give you a feel-good endorphin buzz, but it can also increase your chances of conception. Aim for moderate exercise 3-4 times a week for the best fertility-boosting results.
- Find your zen. While it’s sometimes easier said than done, keeping calm while TTC can give your fertility a little upward nudge. When we’re feeling anxious, we release a stress hormone known as cortisol which can make conception more difficult. Give yourself a break and find your ‘zen’ with a guided meditation podcast, a restorative yoga class or even a chat with a close friend or family member.
- Talk to your doctor. Guidance from a supportive doctor is essential throughout any pregnancy. If you’re planning to start a family, talk to a doctor who can comb through your medical history, recommend the best course of action and give you the tailored support you need and deserve.
With a bit of planning, guidance and TLC, you can have a healthy pregnancy at a time that works for you. And of course, once you do become pregnant – Baby2Body will be there with you every step of the way to keep you and happy and healthy while you grow a healthy baby.