Trying to get pregnant? Make sure you know the bottom line on baby-making—what you don't understand can affect your bub-to-be's health.
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Already I find myself in week 8 of my first pregnancy. I’m 38 years old, so time seems to fly by faster and faster as I age. Normally, I wish for the world to just s-l-o-w d-o-w-n some. But since the day I found out I was pregnant, I’ve had that can’t-wait feeling every day. The day that I can finally meet my baby can’t come soon enough. At my next appointment at 11 weeks, James and I should be able to hear the heartbeat for the first time. For now, I’ll just have to be patient.
My partner James and I have been together for two years, and since close to the beginning of our relationship, we discussed the possibility of having a child if things worked out well with us. I don’t have any children, but he has a 6 year-old son from a previous relationship and relishes the role of involved father. At our one-year anniversary in January 2012, we decided to officially start “trying” and I stopped taking birth control.
Like most parents, my husband and I always tried to make perfect choices, from the seemingly small (the perfect diaper pail) to the potentially life-changing (deciding how many kids to have). The longer we had our one child, the more we felt she was all we needed, yet the old myths continued to worry us: Would she be lonely and spoiled? Were we being selfish by not giving her a sibling? Would the task of caring for us in our old age fall on her shoulders alone?
Ask several women what they think is the ideal age for pregnancy, and you’ll get wildly different answers. Those who give birth in their early 20s benefit from seemingly boundless energy and über-resilient bodies; the 30-something new mom is grateful to have established herself in her career before taking maternity leave; the woman in her early 40s delivers with a strong sense of self and few qualms about being able to afford diapers.
Yeah, so much mobility, as I said last week. Tuck has really gotten the hang of crawling, though it isn’t a pretty, smooth action yet. But he is a madman, moving all over the place so fast we can’t even figure out how he’s doing it. We lowered the crib mattress last week because he suddenly figured out how to sit up/try to climb over the edge. This morning he’d pulled a blanket rack over to himself and gotten a blanket into his crib (that’s been moved).
I walked my 5th grader to her classroom on the first day of school this week. As I looked around at the other parents, I recognized once again that I’m one of the older mothers in the hall. I was 39 when I had this daughter; what my obstetrician called: Advanced Maternal Age. It’s not like I’m really old, but now, ten years later, as I stand outside the classroom, three things cross my mind:
1) Dang, these parents are young and
2) There’s no way I could show up here wearing sweats and a dirty pony tail like they can and
Carol Vaghar had a typical new-mom experience when she gave birth to her first child 15 years ago at age 28. “During my pregnancy, I’d met a crowd of other first-time mothers,” says the Newton, Mass., real-estate agent. “We got together weekly after our children were born. We formed a baby-sitting circle and also got together socially with our husbands.”
Especially for a first-timer, early pregnancy can be disorienting, and even the most thorough and caring doctor is bound to overlook some of your concerns. To help, we’ve come up with answers to some of the questions newly pregnant women ask most. Our expert is Raymond I. Poliakin, M.D., professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the author of What You Didn’t Think to Ask Your Obstetrician (Contemporary Books, 1994).
Weight loss can decrease your risk of gestational diabetes. If you were in your 20s, I would recommend that you try to lose weight before getting pregnant again. But since you are 35, my recommendation is to not delay conception by trying to lose weight first, as fertility decreases with age. You should consider consulting a registered dietitian about beginning a preconception nutritional program, as doing so may reduce your risk. Thirty minutes of daily exercise also should be incorporated into your routine, as research shows it can greatly reduce gestational diabetes risk.
By the age of 43, Jamie Rhein of Columbus, Ohio, thought it was unlikely she'd have a baby. "I had never gotten pregnant," says Rhein, whose adopted daughter was then 9. "My husband and I had been going our merry way with unprotected sex for years." But when Rhein started craving Whopper Jrs., she knew something was up. At an age when many women were parenting teens, she was preparing for a newborn. "I went from shock to being pleased with the idea," says Rhein, now 49.