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'I'm 160 days into my third pregnancy and I'm eating well and keeping fit'

In January of next year I will give birth to my third child -- who, right now in utero, has lived approximately 160 days of the critical 1,000 day deadline for optimum future health.

I have been blessed with easy, enjoyable pregnancies -- and this one is no exception. But in American obstetrics, at 39 years of age, I am classified as technically ancient.

My medical files bear the ominous stamp, 'AMA' -- Advanced Maternal Age.

This dubious distinction means that I have been subjected to a barrage of tests and choices for neural tube defects and other genetic anomalies that I was not offered during my last pregnancy.

Given that I already have an energetic three and six-year-old to care for, a full-time writing career, not to mention a husband who travels frequently for work, I have had less time to focus on the pregnancy.

There have been no afternoon naps, no time to indulge in maternity-wear shopping and little time to really sit down and dwell on the miracle of life that is taking place inside of me.

Nonetheless I have adhered to a relatively strict diet prescribed by my midwives that recommends lots of fresh fruits and green vegetables, whole grains and calcium-rich foods.

I have tried to avoid as much white bread and sugar as possible -- although the odd 99 ice-cream cone proved impossible to resist on a recent trip back to Ireland -- and have cut down my caffeine intake.

And this time around I am doing something that I neglected in my previous pregnancies: I am exercising regularly.

For six months prior to this pregnancy I had been attending a strength and cardio-training 'boot camp' four days a week and -- for now, with medical consent -- am continuing to train.

I feel great, have more energy than I thought possible at this stage in a pregnancy and hope that the regimen will help me bounce back quicker than ever once I've given birth.

And despite the constant question of, 'What are you having?', once again I have opted not to find out the sex of the baby.

At my 20-week ultrasound recently, the technician advised me to look at the ceiling when he scanned the genital area of the baby.

There are too few surprises in life -- and very few as sweet as that penultimate moment at birth -- and we're determined to do things the old-fashioned way.

Although deep down, I'm convinced it's a boy.

Irish Independent