Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Over 40 pregnancy - opposing opinions

I have been addictively scouring the internet over the last few days collecting links and information about getting pregnant, being pregnant, and the ins and outs of newborns. And of course, seeking out anything to do with having a first child over 40!

There is so much good and positive information out there and I am SO glad. Because I come under two traditionally thought of as "bad" categories for childbearing. Over 40 and overweight. Thank God there are lots of good things said about both and that I am one to look on the positive side of life, because if I was to get stuck into believing and being consumed by the derogatory opinions, I would be so downcast and negative it wouldn't be any viable setting for conception.

What I find most interesting, is that in most of my reading, all the studies and research that arrived at negative results comparing age and body type during pregnancy, not one of them described how the 'overweight' women take care of themselves during pregnancy. Are they eating unhealthily or have they established good eating habits? Are they getting the appropriate exercise or are they sedentary in their lifestyle? Were there pre-existing medical conditions or were these women perfectly healthy before pregnancy. Just because you are over 40 or just because you are overweight, does not automatically mean you are unhealthy. I kept wishing the studies had looked at these things.

These are the factors that make the difference. Talk to both my naturopaths and they will tell you over 40 and overweight is not a problem for conception! They have seen it time and time again, because they are dealing with woman who are actively conscious of what they need to do to take care of their children before conception and after conception.

So when I came across this study in several sites, while it took me a while to read it and fully understand it, I was so glad. Here was the study I had been wishing for! Here is a section of the study.
Women who followed a combination of five or more lifestyle factors, especially dietary changes, had a more than 80% reduction in their risk of ovulatory infertility compared with those who undertook none of these changes.
This inverse relation was similiar in subgroups defined by women's age, parity, and body weight.
A combination of five or more low-risk lifestyle factors, including diet, weight control, and physical activity was associated with a 69% lower risk of ovulatory disorder infertility.
I am one of those. After a lapse over the last few months, I am regaining my fitness, I am regaining my good eating habits. I have always taken care of myself with the right supplements under the guidance of my naturopaths. I drink two litres of water a day. I have given up alcohol. I am reducing my stress levels. I am pro-active in our journey for a child.

According to one article, just a drop of 5% - 10% of your body weight increases fertility by 50%. Regardless of the facts and figures, my returning to good exercise and eating habits is bound to produce that! And if nothing else, I can imagine that this will make things a little more physically comfortable as my belly grows!

There was one article I came across, though, that has struck a chord with me regarding being overweight.
Researchers from Adelaide University in Australia said that obese women have changes in their ovaries that could make it hard for eggs to become embryos.
Other work has shown that obese women take longer to get pregnant, even with regular menstrual cycles.
Dr. Rebecca Robker said that fats in the blood and body may change the metabolism of an egg, making it harder for an embryo to develop.
The study followed 96 women getting fertility treatment.
Researchers took readings from eggs collected from the women and found chances in metabolite and androgen levels.
"Our research shows that obesity ... changes the environment in the ovary which bathes and nourishes a woman's developing eggs," Robker said.
This is one study I am keen to take to the wonderful Naturopath Queen for her opinion!

In the end, there are valid factors to be aware when having your first baby over 40.
  • It may take longer to get pregnant
  • There is a greater chance of multiple pregnancy
  • You're more likely to develop gestational diabetes.
  • You may need a C-section.
  • The risk of chromosome abnormalities is higher.

Some of these factors are a result of co-existing medical problems without factoring in pregnancy. Us over 40 somethings aren't 25 anymore. As a general rule, we do need to be more aware of our health. Gone are those carefree 20's! Yet those of us that are conscious of these factors are much more likely to take better care of ourselves during and before pregnancy than a carefree, accidently pregnant 25 year old without the life experience behind her and the readiness, committment and strong desire to have a child.

I am a strong, centered, 'know who I am' woman who has lived her career and many life experiences.
After meeting and experiencing many Mr. Wrongs, I know I have met the man who is a wonderful match.
I am so ready to devote myself to having, loving and raising a child with the man that I love dearly and am totally committed to.
I have no pre-existing health conditions that could be aggravated by the demands of pregnancy.
With the proper pre-conception and pregnancy care, there is every reason for me to know that I can have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy child.

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