Pregnancy after 30? You can make it happen

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Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Actor-model Neha Dhupia (left in pic) announced her second pregnancy on Monday. She is 40. Planning a family and conceiving after 30 has become common among women today as most of them want to be financially and mentally prepared for this 20-year project of raising a child.  

Neha’s announcement has kicked off a conversation around the risks that come with late pregnancy and the extra amount of care required. This is because the body undergoes major changes after 30. But many celebs and icons have shown us that one can defy age and plan a family whenever they are ready.  We speak to experts to understand why more and more women are opting for late pregnancy and how they can counter the risks involved.

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According to Dr Swapna Yendru, a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist, after a woman turns 30, fertility declines and after 45, it drops further. “But that doesn’t mean that all of us rush in and have children when in our 20s. Being prepared for motherhood and fatherhood is a difficult job and it comes with a lot of responsibilities. In their 20s, many may not be ready for such responsibilities and may choose to wait it out,” she says. 

One factor that has to be taken into consideration is the quality of eggs being produced. With every year and every cycle. A woman loses one egg. Also, to develop or release one egg, 50 eggs are involved. “Also, bear in mind that the chromosomes in the genetic cells are nine months older than you. As you age, the chromosomal material also ages and doesn’t divide or recombine as it should. The chances of chromosomal abnormalities in the offspring could be higher,” Dr Swapna says. 

Another risk is that of miscarriage which could be caused by the hormonal imbalance. “But if you are careful and maintain a healthy lifestyle, with no kidney/liver disorders or heart problems, you can conceive successfully. As long as you are conscious of your health and are in touch with your doctor, you should be okay,” she says. The other risks that come with age are the incidents of fibroids, diabetes, hypertension and lifestyle disorders. These could lead to complications in the pregnancy and affect the baby. In short, there’s no looking past the fact that a late pregnancy puts the mother in the high-risk category. 

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Coming to the psychological aspect, Radhika Nallan Acharya, a clinical psychologist and counselor, says: “There will surely be an age gap, which is as good as a generation gap. But I don’t think this will affect the mother-child relationship. Psychologically, the child may be prone to developing ADHD and other conditions. But we have so many success stories around us — Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan have taken care of their health and given birth in their 30s.”

What worries Radhika is the lax attitude towards pre-conception care. “Pre- and post-conception care have a greater role to play at the time of birth. If mothers look after themselves well, they will be out of the woods when it comes to psychological risks. 

People usually plan late pregnancies because they want to enjoy motherhood, be prepared for it and give it their best. This makes sense because there won’t be any issues in her parenting and she will ensure a strong support system for her child,” she says. 

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Don’t let age get in the way 

  • Be the best you can be, both physically and mentally
  • Exercise regularly 
  • Eat vitamin-rice fresh food, vegetables and whole grains 
  • Be in a good space, mentally 
  • Learn to handle your stress
  • Start on preconception folic acid
  • Get a checkup done to see if you are a hypertensive diabetic
  • If you are diabetic, high sugar can harm the baby
  • Plan your pregnancy only after getting checked up
  • Follow the timetables given by your doctors

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