It is common for women to have their first baby after they are 35 years old. Though a majority of them give birth to healthy babies, such pregnancies are always at risk.
There are increased chances of complications during pregnancy such as high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, premature birth, pre-eclampsia, etc., for those women who become pregnant after 35 years of age. Sound nutritional habits can help to reduce such risks to a certain extent.
The first step is a healthy diet and it should contain an ample amount of vitamins and minerals. This is a basic requirement for both the baby and a healthy pregnancy. The diet should contain whole grains, fruits, veggies, low-fat dairy products and lean protein. Ensure that you carefully evaluate each food and its nutrient content. If it is not nutritious enough for you and the baby, it is not worth eating it.
Prenatal vitamins are of utmost importance during pregnancy. A prenatal vitamin should have a minimum of 400 mcg of folic acid in order to prevent defects of the neural tube. The prenatal vitamin should also contain adequate amounts of nutrients such as calcium and iron. The recommended daily allowances of calcium and iron for women who are pregnant are 1000 mg and 30 mg, respectively.
The blood volume of a pregnant woman is generally higher and she needs to consume more quantity of water than usual for her body to function normally. It is therefore important for a pregnant woman to consume a lot of fluids. The water is required for hydration of the body and to avoid constipation. Dehydration and constipation are common problems that pregnant women experience. Also ensure that the fluids do not have caffeine. An excessive intake of caffeine by pregnant women may increase the chances of a miscarriage.
It is important to maintain a healthy weight during the period of pregnancy. It is important to follow the doctor’s advice in this matter. For a pregnant woman, the calorie demand is only increased by 300 over the normal value. In case of you are underweight or having more than required activity or are carrying more than one baby, the doctor may advice consumption of more calories to meet the excess demand. It is important not to follow fad diets during pregnancy or ignore sound nutritional habits.
Tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs are a clear no-no. Consumption of these substances may cause severe abnormalities of the fetus. The toxins that are generated will be difficult for the fetus to eliminate as it does not have developed systems. Harmful substances that are retained in the baby’s body will thus cause the nervous system to develop defects. Complications such as stillbirth, premature childbirth, sudden infant death, birth defects, respiratory problems, etc., can occur.
Harmful foods should be avoided at all costs. Food-borne infections such as listeriosis and toxoplasmosis can cause a lot of harm to the developing fetus. It may even lead to a miscarriage. It is important to avoid eating raw food, unpasteurized products, undercooked protein, processed meats such as hot dogs, etc. Fishes such as tuna, mackerel, swordfish, shark, etc., are to be avoided at all costs. Do not take any medications or herbal products without due discussion with your consulting medical specialist