Nutrition And Health
An excellent diet is important for older women, especially if they continue to work throughout their pregnancy. The healthiest diet consists of lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, supplemented by chicken, fish, yogurt, and eggs.
It is not necessary to consume four glasses of milk a day or eat four to six slices of whole grain bread every day. However, if you have no dairy in your diet, it is important to take a calcium magnesium supplement containing 1,000 to 1,200mg of calcium and about half that amount of magnesium. It is important to learn to become aware of what your body is trying to tell you and listen to it. Healthy food cravings should be heeded.
Dr. Lendon Smith, author of the book FEED YOURSELF RIGHT (Dell, 1983), believes that especially for women with allergies, it is important to avoid dairy products, to rotate your food, and to space your children at least three years apart. Otherwise he believes that such a mother can predispose her child to having allergies.
Excess dairy products may cause allergic symptoms in the mother as well, such as being constantly stuffed up, having frequent headaches and a runny nose. As long as adequate protein is being taken, along with good calcium magnesium supplement, there is no need to worry that your baby is not getting enough nutrition if you give up cheese and milk.
It is also important to avoid sugar, sugar substitutes, coffee and alcohol. All of these will lower your energy level and have a less than desirable effect on your baby.
Some women develop diabetes during pregnancy. This risk of diabetes goes up with age. During pregnancy, you need extra glucose in your blood to help the baby grow. During pregnancy, the insulin doesn't move the glucose out of your blood as quickly as it did when you were not pregnant. This means that blood sugar levels in the last three months are normally higher than non-pregnant levels, and sometimes sugar will even spill over into the urine. All these changes are normal.
However, some women temporarily lose the ability to handle the increased levels of blood sugar in their body. Henci Goer, author of a helpful pamphlet entitled Gestational Diabetes, says, "It is perhaps unfortunate that this condition is called diabetes. Elevated blood sugar is a concern, but for most women the problem is mild, easily corrected by diet, the pancreas is unimpaired and the risks are much lower than in insulin dependant diabetes."
Gestational diabetes (diabetes that appears for the first time during pregnancy) can only be diagnosed by taking blood and urine samples for three hours after consuming a large amount of sugar.
Some doctors are now doing this test routinely, especially on older women. However, there is controversy about whether there is actual risk to the fetus if the diagnosis is missed, or the treatment is inadequate. There are few well designed studies on this subject. One third of women with gestational diabetes will progress to permanent diabetes within seven years of their affected pregnancy.
If you have been able to keep your blood sugar levels normal through diet alone, and if the baby is growing normally, then your labour should be handled the same as any low risk pregnancy.
Coping With Fatigue
On the one hand, you are emotionally better adjusted and your identity is firmly established by age 35 or older. You are much less likely to resent your children for preventing you from having a career, because you have probably already established a career or done what you wanted with your life.
On the other hand, fatigue may affect you more than a younger mother, and you make take a longer time to recover physically after the birth. Or you may not.
Regular exercise, both stretching and aerobic types, during and after your pregnancy will help your body recover faster after birth, and give you more physical stamina after the baby is born.
Pregnant women over 35 should plan in advance on how to meet their anticipated needs before and after the birth. Try and establish a solid network of friends and family you trust and whom you do not feel embarrassed to call for help.
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