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Princess5

Preparing for pregnancy -- the older mom edition

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Me and my husband are both 41.  We have kids ages 10 and 8 and our desire for another child has not totally died down.  We still feel like we would love to have one more kid in our life but I'm not sure as we are getting older.  41 is considered advanced maternal age for having babies right now isn't it.  How different or difficult will it be to be pregnant at 41 compared to 30.   I am 25 lb overweight compared to the time since I had my kids and not in the greatest shape physically.  I don't work out much and my muscle mass has reduced a lot and I have really fat flabby arms a lot of fat in general in my body.  Is there anything we both can do to prepare ourselves to have a healthier pregnancy and a healthy baby?

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Start eating whole, mainly unprocessed foods, and start light weights, walking and core strengthening would be my advice. You want a strong back. 

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Buy a kegal exerciser. I have the Kehel but wanted the one from intima. These are small devices that look like vibrators. They connect to your phone via Bluetooth and ensure you are getting proper exercise.

Edited by Slache

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My easiest pregnancy was probably my one at 43. And having 10yo at 53 was no big deal, nor having a 20yo at 63! It's great fun to do all those things you got to do with the older kids. I'm only sad that I lost my last one at 46--I would have loved to have had a senior this year!

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My last was born when I was about to turn 41. Start working out, something you can continue during the pregnancy like a water aerobics class, or other fitness class. Walking, etc is good. Strength training - there are plenty of video workouts for pregnancy as well and they helped me a lot. I think I did the daily burn one, or maybe it was Beachbody. Either way, great options. 

Take your vitamins, starting now. Get a physical and see if you have any other underlying issues like hypertension, etc that need to be addressed. 

And I took supplements that have been shown to improve the ovarian environment so that as the egg matures is develops more like a younger woman's eggs, to reduce the chance of miscarriage and improve the odds of getting pregnant. DHEA and CoQ10, you can look up dosages for fertility. They take about 3-4 months to be effective, or rather, they start working right away but the egg takes 3 months or more to mature/ripen, so start before you try to get pregnant. 

You can also look up information on monitoring during pregnancy, induction, etc. The evidence is often mis-quoted. Yes, a woman of advanced age has a higher chance of miscarriage, and other pregnancy issues, but for a woman like you who has had previous children the risk is still lower than for a first time mom who is not of advanced maternal age, if I remember right. In other words, having had other children reduces your risk of problems. 

Edited by Ktgrok
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I had my last child one month after turning 42.  It was an easy pregnancy and the birth was much easier too.  I felt great within 2 days.  My older kids were 10 and 12 when he was born and they adore him and they also made it so much easier on me and I really did not ask them to do much.  The downside is that by August both olders will be at college.  I'm not sure what we are going to do! I'm so used ot being totally busy with high school students that I'm looking forward to slowing down a bit for a few years, 

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1 hour ago, Ktgrok said:

My last was born when I was about to turn 41. Start working out, something you can continue during the pregnancy like a water aerobics class, or other fitness class. Walking, etc is good. Strength training - there are plenty of video workouts for pregnancy as well and they helped me a lot. I think I did the daily burn one, or maybe it was Beachbody. Either way, great options. 

Take your vitamins, starting now. Get a physical and see if you have any other underlying issues like hypertension, etc that need to be addressed. 

And I took supplements that have been shown to improve the ovarian environment so that as the egg matures is develops more like a younger woman's eggs, to reduce the chance of miscarriage and improve the odds of getting pregnant. DHEA and CoQ10, you can look up dosages for fertility. They take about 3-4 months to be effective, or rather, they start working right away but the egg takes 3 months or more to mature/ripen, so start before you try to get pregnant. 

You can also look up information on monitoring during pregnancy, induction, etc. The evidence is often mis-quoted. Yes, a woman of advanced age has a higher chance of miscarriage, and other pregnancy issues, but for a woman like you who has had previous children the risk is still lower than for a first time mom who is not of advanced maternal age, if I remember right. In other words, having had other children reduces your risk of problems. 

Where did you find info on DHEA and COQ10?  I looked at Mayo clinic and they said not to take it... Do the guys have to do anything to have a healthy sperm

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I totally hate the term "geriatric pregnancy."  As if I needed a cane to walk into my appointments!

 

I had my first at 24, but we actually got more fertile as we got older, go fig. I had a normal pregnancy at 36, a normal one that turned complicated and didn't end happily at 39, and then a ridiculously high risk pregnancy that went actually quite well at almost 42 (could have done without the readmission for postpartum preeclampsia, but eh, it wasn't that big of a deal to spend a couple of extra days snuggling him in bed while the nurses took care of us).  He's perfect, absolutely perfect.  Having a baby in my 40s has been amazing.  Yes, it's a bit physically harder, and I'm more tired, but also I have five older kiddos, so I'm also much busier, but there's something I can't explain that is so wonderful about having him.  Part of it is that having him is a bit of a miracle anyway, but also, by this point, I know exactly how fast it goes, and I also know that I'm capable of doing this parenting thing, so I just enjoy the heck out of having this sweet little guy. 

 

I'd expect a busy pregnancy and a lot of appointments.  Watch for hypertension and diabetes.  

 

My biggest worry is that my little dude will be lonely, because he is five years younger than his next older sibling, and/or that he will lose us before adulthood.  It's a little weird to realize that our older kids are getting well over a decade more of us than he will, but he gets more laid back parents, and he gets the siblings too.  He's a bit indulged by everyone, lol.  

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I had my second child at 41. (First at 39) No special preparations other than normal pg things: eat well, moderate exercise, prenatal vitamins etc. Totally uneventful pregnancy. C-section delivery bc his older sister was too.  No issues, recovery was fine.

 

 

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Well we had an unplanned pregnancy last year I'm not quite as old.  But  I am way overweight.  I have arthritis in my hips.  The pregnancy was fine I did have Gestational diabetes this time but we kept it very well controlled.  I had a single high blood pressure reading and they had me checking it home daily after that.  So they were definitely more vigilant.  I had weekly nst and ultrasounds from 36 weeks on.  The current recommendations are for high risk pregnancies to be induced at 39 weeks.

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8 hours ago, Princess5 said:

Where did you find info on DHEA and COQ10?  I looked at Mayo clinic and they said not to take it... Do the guys have to do anything to have a healthy sperm

https://www.centerforhumanreprod.com/dor/dhea-ivf/

https://www.nefertility.com/international-fertility-blog/after-age-35

You don't take these during pregnancy, but in the months leading up to it. I stopped when I got a positive test. (we got pregnant the first month we tried, at age 40)

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Also, you might look at adoption... That comes with a whole different set of difficulties and issues, BUT... you would not have the health issues/risks associated with a post-40yo pregnancy, and you'd have a lot more energy/physical stamina if adopting a pre-school or young elementary-aged child. And, the child would be closer in age to your 8yo and 10yo, for ability to do things -- an infant/toddler can be really difficult to go back to just as you have reached the stage where your kids are old enough to travel, discuss, and enjoy a lot of activities and outings. Plus, you're getting close to the tween/tween age years when your current children's social needs and involvement really "floor the gas pedal" of requiring parent taxi-driving, and hosting or chaperoning, or being an co-leader/advisor for an extracurricular... 

Edited by Lori D.

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8 hours ago, happypamama said:

I totally hate the term "geriatric pregnancy."  As if I needed a cane to walk into my appointments!

 

I had my first at 24, but we actually got more fertile as we got older, go fig. I had a normal pregnancy at 36, a normal one that turned complicated and didn't end happily at 39, and then a ridiculously high risk pregnancy that went actually quite well at almost 42 (could have done without the readmission for postpartum preeclampsia, but eh, it wasn't that big of a deal to spend a couple of extra days snuggling him in bed while the nurses took care of us).  He's perfect, absolutely perfect.  Having a baby in my 40s has been amazing.  Yes, it's a bit physically harder, and I'm more tired, but also I have five older kiddos, so I'm also much busier, but there's something I can't explain that is so wonderful about having him.  Part of it is that having him is a bit of a miracle anyway, but also, by this point, I know exactly how fast it goes, and I also know that I'm capable of doing this parenting thing, so I just enjoy the heck out of having this sweet little guy. 

 

I'd expect a busy pregnancy and a lot of appointments.  Watch for hypertension and diabetes.  

 

My biggest worry is that my little dude will be lonely, because he is five years younger than his next older sibling, and/or that he will lose us before adulthood.  It's a little weird to realize that our older kids are getting well over a decade more of us than he will, but he gets more laid back parents, and he gets the siblings too.  He's a bit indulged by everyone, lol.  

This is very similar to our experience. I'm 45, almost 46, with a 10 month old. Pregnancy and delivery was normal from my doctor's perspective. I remember my old doctor (he died or he would have been this one's doctor too) said it was only first time moms who he's worried about getting pregnant after 35 because nobody knows how their body will react to pregnancy and labor/delivery. But my blood pressure was borderline high while normally it's low, and I felt every bit of my age throughout the pregnancy. When it came time to push I just didn't feel like I had it in me to do this again, but somehow I did. After delivery my blood pressure took a few weeks to go back down to its normal low. Now that she's here I'm tired pretty much constantly and the many balls I have to keep in the air as the mom to a college student, 2 high schoolers, a middle school student, an elementary student, and a nursing baby are a bad juggling act most days.

BUT ...

She is such a miracle. ❤ I had a miscarriage at 41 and thought that meant the end of my snuggling newborn days. I never thought I'd get to nurse again, or see toothless grins again, or squeeze little chubby baby arms again. I take the time to rock her and hold her and play with her because I know just how fast the time goes. And watching my older kids take delight in her is more satisfying than I can possibly tell you ❤

I try not to think about potty training or the fact that I'll be 63 when she graduates high school LOL

Edited by Momto6inIN
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I had my last baby shortly after I turned 44.  I felt soooo young after I gave birth to him.  I was over the moon.  It was a home water birth with an easy recovery.  Because I was older and more experienced, I was able to birth him by myself with my husband and the midwives near for support.

Besides making sure you eat well and exercise, I think the major hurdle is to advocate for yourself.  The medical establishment (including midwives here) love to label and be concerned about your 'geriatric' age, and the default position is to focus on all the things that can go wrong even though that does not help your pregnancy.  They have their procedures and protocols which will overwhelm you if you let it.  There will be tests, and checks and induction discussions.  Be well informed.  Make your decisions and hold your ground.  I trusted my body.  My midwives were good and agreeable because I knew a lot about childbirth and had established my preferences with my previous babies.    We had productive discussions on the pro and cons of procedures, and I think that they appreciated that I had done the research and took ownership of my decisions.

I was overweight during the pregnancy and the baby went well past his 'due date'.  Based on past experience, I said I would go x days over my due date without any discussion on inducing, but the midwives were getting (based on their statistics, rightfully) concerned.  I was happy to give birth so I did not have to deal with that concern any longer.

Having older sibling helping out in the care totally rocks.

I find getting through age 3 and 4 the hardest and that still holds true, but it is easier with helpers.   I am so happy we have our caboose.  He brings so much joy and gives my older ones a better appreciation of having a little one around.

If you decide to try, spend a couple of months getting in better shape.    There seems to be quite a few women who have no problem getting pregnant in their 40s.

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I am 100,000% pro-adoption and still hope to adopt 3 more but I think the waiting period should be heavily considered for this situation. Sometimes it's 6 months, sometimes it's 10 years.

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7 minutes ago, Slache said:

I am 100,000% pro-adoption and still hope to adopt 3 more but I think the waiting period should be heavily considered for this situation. Sometimes it's 6 months, sometimes it's 10 years.

 

What do you mean by the waiting period?  

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30 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

What do you mean by the waiting period?  

It depends on the method that you use to go about it. A lot of people need to go to the foster route as they do not have money for a traditional adoption and the waiting for that can be several years.

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Just now, Slache said:

It depends on the method that you use to go about it. A lot of people need to go to the foster route as they do not have money for a traditional adoption and the waiting for that can be several years.

 

Do you mean the fact that it can take time to get a match in adoption?  That is definitely true. 

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1 minute ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

Do you mean the fact that it can take time to get a match in adoption?  That is definitely true. 

We plan do adopt through foster. Last I looked (several years ago) if you were approved you were put on an 18 month waiting list before they even tried for a match.

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Just now, Slache said:

I think it varies by state.

 

I think it varies hugely by state.  It also varies depends on what you're open to both as far as situations and special needs.  In my experience, most younger kids who are adopted from foster care stay with the parents who took them in when they were straight foster.

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6 hours ago, Lori D. said:

Also, you might look at adoption... That comes with a whole different set of difficulties and issues, BUT... you would not have the health issues/risks associated with a post-40yo pregnancy, and you'd have a lot more energy/physical stamina if adopting a pre-school or young elementary-aged child. And, the child would be closer in age to your 8yo and 10yo, for ability to do things -- an infant/toddler can be really difficult to go back to just as you have reached the stage where your kids are old enough to travel, discuss, and enjoy a lot of activities and outings. Plus, you're getting close to the tween/tween age years when your current children's social needs and involvement really "floor the gas pedal" of requiring parent taxi-driving, and hosting or chaperoning, or being an co-leader/advisor for an extracurricular... 


I am a big believer in adoption, and have no regrets about adopting an older child, but I would caution anyone thinking about adopting an older child because they worry about their stamina or they think it would reduce health risks.  
 

The reality is that children are meant to be raised by the same people start to finish. And there’s just no way that a kid old enough to remember things ends up needing new parents that doesn’t have some trauma attached, and parenting traumatized kids who are learning to be in your family is hard.  Is it worth it?  Absolutely, at least I know my kid is, but it’s also heart wrenching and exhausting.  
 

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I had my last at 36, but I dont hear anyone discussing the realities of the big age gap- none of these things should preclude you from having a baby, but they need to be part of the conversation. 

1.  Big age gaps = Different Logistics.  I've got a 2 year old, and one looking at colleges!  I've also got a few in between.  That's a really big age range and we have a lot of logistics to deal with.  A baby is very portable, but a 2 year old spending the day at a middle school kids event is hard on parents and the 2 year old.  I have felt like this baby has been drug all over, to events, playdates, vacations- all of which she enjoys, but it makes every single thing harder to plan.  We pack toys, but usually one of us watches the event while the other watches the toddler- then we switch.   Do you have reliable toddler care?  Will you be able to homeschool high school with a toddler?  Are there vacations you want to take with older kids that will be harder with a baby.  We have not went on a vacation since I got PG with her.  Just too much trouble!  Hoping shes ready to travel soon.  

2.  Aging parents-  Another big concern is how are your parents?  It isn't an issue to us (yet), but it is something I keep in the back of my mind.   All 3 living grandparents have had surgeries in the last 5 years.  Right now, they are fine.  I'm pretty sure that in my babys teens we will be actively caring for one of them.  10-15 years changes a lot.  There are lots of people stuck caring for young kids and elderly parents.  Again, this shouldn't stop you from having a baby, but it needs to be part of the discussion. 

3.  Money, college and retirement- Just make sure you've planned as best you can.   

 

Best of luck!!!

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18 hours ago, deBij said:

I had my last baby shortly after I turned 44.  I felt soooo young after I gave birth to him.  I was over the moon.  It was a home water birth with an easy recovery.  Because I was older and more experienced, I was able to birth him by myself with my husband and the midwives near for support.

Besides making sure you eat well and exercise, I think the major hurdle is to advocate for yourself.  The medical establishment (including midwives here) love to label and be concerned about your 'geriatric' age, and the default position is to focus on all the things that can go wrong even though that does not help your pregnancy.  They have their procedures and protocols which will overwhelm you if you let it.  There will be tests, and checks and induction discussions.  Be well informed.  Make your decisions and hold your ground.  I trusted my body.  My midwives were good and agreeable because I knew a lot about childbirth and had established my preferences with my previous babies.    We had productive discussions on the pro and cons of procedures, and I think that they appreciated that I had done the research and took ownership of my decisions.

I was overweight during the pregnancy and the baby went well past his 'due date'.  Based on past experience, I said I would go x days over my due date without any discussion on inducing, but the midwives were getting (based on their statistics, rightfully) concerned.  I was happy to give birth so I did not have to deal with that concern any longer.

Having older sibling helping out in the care totally rocks.

I find getting through age 3 and 4 the hardest and that still holds true, but it is easier with helpers.   I am so happy we have our caboose.  He brings so much joy and gives my older ones a better appreciation of having a little one around.

If you decide to try, spend a couple of months getting in better shape.    There seems to be quite a few women who have no problem getting pregnant in their 40s.

This is very true. I knew that my babies go late, and I did a lot of research on the actual statistics regarding still birth, gestational age, maternal age, relation to other complications, etc. I went with a watchful waiting protocol - we did non stress tests weekly starting at 37 weeks I think, where normal I start those at 40 weeks. We did biweekly appointments to check heart tones and my blood pressure and urine, and then upped the biophysical profile to twice a week at 41 weeks. At 42 weeks on the dot I went into labor and delivery for a more through check - full biophysical profile, non stress test, full lab work, etc etc etc. At the end of several hours it was pronounced the baby was great, i was great, and I was just "too good at being pregnant", lol. I was also 4cm and stretchy to 5cm, which I had been for at least one or two days. I checked out AMA and promised to come back in 24 horus for an induction if I wasn't in labor. I stopped at my midwife's office and she did another stretch and sweep, we chatted, and then I got in the car with DH to go home. And promptly went into labor, lol. I was SO annoyed that I'd spent all darned day wasted at the hospital only to go into labor on the way home! But because I was SO ready the baby was born in 2 hours and 10 minutes from my first cramp in the car - about an hour after we got home. The midwife made it by 20 minutes, her assistant didn't get there until after the baby was born.And my little girl was born at 42 weeks, a few days before I turned 41. 

Had I ever had ANY non reassuring results with any of the testing we would have induced sooner, but because I knew usually  babies go to almost 42 weeks I did not want to do an elective induction at 39 weeks, which seemed to be standard with the OB's if you were advanced maternal age. I knew that would put them about 3 weeks premature - one of my 4 came at 38 weeks and he had a hard time with breathing at first. My mom carried me to 43 weeks. We just cook babies long in my family. So I wasn't okay with early induction with no evidence, but I also was very eager to have extra monitoring at the end. 

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As to the big age gap--it's SO cool to see the relationship between the bigs and littles! I remember my oldest at 16, giving a big 4-H speech, and my toddler getting away from dh. She ran up onto the stage shouting "Sissy" and oldest picked her up, plopped her on her hip, and finished the speech. I've often said that we did a lot of things wrong as parents, but the ONE thing we did really well was encouraging the closeness of the kids. I watched my sister's kids--they tear each other down, belittle accomplishments, but there's none of that here. My kids moved heaven and earth again, to get everyone home for Christmas. 

We always just hauled the littles along; we all went together. My little guys were trained from an early age how to sit through swim meets, dressage shows, and violin and cello recitals. 

Edited by Margaret in CO
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