Sunday 22 October 2017

Pregnant in your 40s? Here's a few things you need to know

You may feel slightly nervous about becoming a mother over the age of 40. Don’t worry — having kids later in life is increasingly commonplace.
You may feel slightly nervous about becoming a mother over the age of 40. Don’t worry — having kids later in life is increasingly commonplace.

Gabrielle Fagan

You may feel slightly nervous about becoming a mother over the age of 40. Don’t worry — having kids later in life is increasingly commonplace.

ESRI figures for the 40-44 year age group show that 272 women gave birth for the first time in 2000, 451 did so in 2005 and 797 in 2010. Women giving birth at 45 and older stood at 12 in 2000, 31 in 2005 and 56 in 2010.

Here are some tips:

  • Be aware you may not have the support networks younger mothers can call on. Your own parents are probably getting older, are less mobile and may not be able to rush to your aid at the drop of a hat (or nappy). So look for other ways of organising help — you may have consider a night-nurse or short-term child minder.
  • During pregnancy and after, pay attention to your fitness. You’re at an age where you can no longer take for granted that you will be in good shape — important during pregnancy and essential to physical and mental well being following the arrival of your child. Schedule a daily walk if possible — and do try to exercise at least once a week.
  • Mothers over 40 are twice as likely to suffer post-natal depression. So in those trying months after your child arrives make an effort not to become a housebound recluse. Sign up for mother and baby groups, attend infant yoga classes — whatever is required to get you (and your child) out of the house and socialising with other mothers.
  • If pregnant over 40, the possibility of premature delivery is statistically much higher. Something to be aware of when you receive your due date. Remember, it’s just an approximation — no harm packing your ‘overnight bag’ well beforehand.

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