Archive | January, 2011

Pregnancy After 35

Late pregnancy is a common case today. With women getting career minded and the thought of financial security gripping their future, many tend to postpone the even to f pregnancy for later. Late pregnancy could also be a result of late marriage. But with late pregnancy comes along a list of questions that doubt its safety. On one hand when you are financially and socially stale to have a child on the on the other hand your body may let you down with the rate of fertility. 

Advantages – Though a pregnancy in the 20s is favourable for the body, a later one finds you much more capable to handle responsibilities. You are financially more secure, at a better position in your career, more established in your relation and stable enough to handle the responsibility of a new life. Having a child in the 30s still leaves you with a lot of stamina to handle the home and the office front. Also you understand yourself better and can tackle odds effectively than a woman in her 20s. 

Disadvantages – Your risk of declining fertility in your early 30s is only slightly less than a woman in her late 20s. However, after the age of 35 the decline of fertility increases also the risk of Down syndrome and other genetic abnormalities tend to cloud your decision to have a child. Hence you may have to go through foetal screenings like amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling etc. during your pregnancy. 

The rate of miscarriage also will increase for women conceiving in their late 30’s and other complications too. Many of them may end up with a caesarean rather than a normal delivery. Such increased rates of c-section delivery lead to foetal distress or prolonged second-stage labour. Also the cases of Stillbirth are more common for women above 35 years of age. You are also prone to develop High blood pressure and diabetes during pregnancy.  

Measures to make late pregnancy a success

Having a healthy pregnancy is all related to having a healthy body. Hence maintaining good health before and during pregnancy will reduce the risks of complication. 

Folic acid rich diet – It is a well known fact that folic acid is the key ingredient for the child’s nervous system development. Hence, the right amount of folic acid in the diet will make a favourable for the child to develop. You need to take around 0.4 mg. of folic acid plus consume natural sources for Folic acid like leafy green vegetables, dried beans and some citrus fruits. 

Reduce Caffeine – Caffeine consumption is dangerous for expecting mothers and should also be avoided by women who intend to conceive soon. You need to limit yourself to not more than 300 mg. of caffeine per day. Chocolate too have caffeine. A single chocolate bar has caffeine equivalent to 1/4 cup of coffee. 

Healthy diet – Include food items that provide all the required nutrients for a healthy living. Include foods that are great sources of starch and fiber, vitamins and minerals. Have more of dairy products for enough calcium. 

Workout – Have a balanced exercise regime. Make a combination of cardio, weights, floor exercises and meditation. Alter them as required. However, do consult a professional in case you suffer with any kind of muscle or bone problem. 

Say no to alcohol and smoking – The most general tip of a healthy living. This is an important note for expecting mothers. Alcohol and smoking will not only hamper the Childs development but will also make your body unhealthy for conception. 

A late pregnancy does invite more troubles than giving you much advantage. Hence, consider visiting your doctor before you plan a child and religiously follow the instruction for a healthy childbirth.

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Age and Fertility

Women usually get paranoid about having kids as the approach the age of 30 or more. The reason being that age plays a major factor in the woman’s fertility.  Increased infertility rates due to aging are rising in our society. Each woman is born with the amount of eggs she would require for the entire life. With age the egg quality and quantity decreases that affects the embryo quality after fertilization. 

Pregnancy Rates and Age

Studies have been conducted to see the effect of age on fertility. They confirm that age does affect the fertility of a woman. A few facts to consider are as follows – 

  • The pregnancy rate starts declining around the time of early 30s
  • Around the complete time in the late 30s and early 40s the decline of pregnancy rate is even grater
  • The number of pregnancies recorded after 45 are few
  • By the age of 30, 7% couple are infertile and by the age of 40 33% of couples are infertile 

Reasons of Fertility Loss

There are several factors that lead to the decline of fertility with age 

Egg quantity – This refers to the number of eggs a woman has. Each woman is born with around 1,000,000 eggs that can be fertilized. But only small quantities of these eggs have the quality to be fertilized. As you begin to age the amount of eggs in the ovaries decreases and by the time you start menstruating you have around 400,000 eggs available for fertilization. You produce several eggs each month for ovulation; however they die before they are fertilized. Around the time of menopause majority of the women only have a few hundred eggs left in their ovaries. Due to the decline in the number of eggs that can be fertilised, age makes it difficult to conceive.

Egg quality – Egg quality is the ability of the eggs to get fertilized. Each woman has a defined number of eggs in the ovaries that are released to be fertilized. The quality of the egg is determined by the right shape, health, and chromosomes. This helps to develop into an embryo and, eventually, a baby. They also need to combine with the sperm to be fertilized. All this is required to have a quality egg. But as you age the eggs get weaker and are less capable to form a healthy embryo. As the eggs begin to decrease in number the leave behind fewer quality eggs. 

Menstrual cycle – As you age you begin to get closer to menopause and the menstrual cycle begin to get irregular and shorter.

Lining of the womb – The lining of the womb or the endometrium may become thinner. Thus makes it weak to support a fertilised egg. 

Treatment of infertility

Women who have difficulty in conceiving due to age can approach their care provider for guidance. There are a few ways today that can help you conceive at a later stage. 

Fertility drugs – For starters the doctor will prescribe certain drugs that will help improve your fertility and chances of getting pregnant. These drugs help to increase the number of eggs released by the ovary every month. This greatly improves your chances of getting pregnant. The most commonly used medications include clomiphene and menotropins. 

In-Vitro Fertilization IV fertilization is a method in which viable eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and implanted in the uterus. Many eggs are surgically aspirated from the ovaries and fertilized with the partner’s sperms. After the fertilization takes place many embryos are implanted in the uterus. 

The chances of conceiving for a woman at the age of 30 is half than that of a woman at 20; and the chances of getting pregnant for a woman at the age of 40 is half than that of a woman at 30. This means that it may take longer than usual for you to get pregnant at a later stage in life.

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Twin Care

Twins essentially double to joy of having a family. But they do demand for extra care and may give you a tough time keeping up with the pregnancy symptoms. Their nutrition too requires the mother to be on toes and very careful. However twin pregnancy also calls for the risk of being more prone to complication than mother carrying singles. Eating well, sleeping well, doctor visits and being well aware of your conduction are some of the ways you can have a successful delivery. 

Potential Complication of carrying twins  

Premature labour – Women carrying twin are very prone to having premature labour, one of the commonest complication. 50% of the women carrying twins give birth before 37 weeks.

Pregnancy-induced high blood pressure – This complication surfaces in a quarter of multiple pregnancies when compared to other pregnancies in the general population.

Pre-eclampsia – This tends to develop earlier and be more severe in women carrying twins or more. This is a condition wherein hypertension arises in pregnancy along with significant amounts of protein in the urine.

Placental abruption – The placenta detaches from the uterus walls before delivery. This can happen due to malnutrition, smoking and drug use. It can be prevent by having a healthy diet.

Foetal growth restriction – In this case one or both the babies do not grow at the right rate. This leads to complications during labour and birth. This problem can be monitored by regularly checking the growth of the baby. Monitoring of the blood flow through the placenta during an ultrasound scan helps to measure the functioning of the placenta. 

Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome – In this case one of the baby begins to share the blood supply of the other. This is a rare phenomenon but is quite serious for identical twins. One of the babies gets too much blood while the other gets too little. Lately such a complication would lead to the death of both the babies. However, today we can detect this problem earlier and apply treatments. 

Precautions while carrying twins 

Women carrying twins need to take a little more care of their health. The degree of the regular routine of an expectant mother i.e. eating well, sleeping well, gaining weight and regular doctor visits tend to increase for a woman pregnant with twins. 

Nutrition – Usually expecting women are recommended to increase the intake of iron, folic acid and calcium in the diet. But mothers of twins need to take additional amounts of the necessary nutrients for the proper development of the twins. The normal calcium intake of a woman with twins needs to be 1600 to 2000 mg per day. Also she needs to increase the consumption of dairy products. 

The very important nutrient folic acid is required in higher quantities in the first trimester for women with twins. Iron that is responsible for the haemoglobin production is essential in greater amount as during twin pregnancy a woman is more prone to getting anaemic. Good amount of blood circulation is important as it aids the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the babies. Other nutrients like proteins, zinc, copper and vitamins will be required in more quantity. However, monitor your intake; too much of these nutrients may also cause a problem. 

Weight Gain – Weight gain is an unavoidable part of being pregnant. The amount of weight you gain depends on the number of foetuses carried by you. Women with twins are advised to gain around 30-45 pounds in total for the entire pregnancy. Most of the weight gain should preferably happen in the first 20-25 weeks of pregnancy. Weight gained in the later part of pregnancy may increase the risk of having preterm labour and low birth weight. 

Additional Care – As the risk of complications in a twin pregnancy is more than in singleton, women with twin pregnancies are expected to visit the doctor more frequently. Twice monthly visits during the second trimester and weekly visits during the third is the usual practice. 

Twin care today is convenient due to the progress of science through which complications can be track beforehand and effective measures can be implied. However the expectant mother of twins needs to mentally, physically and emotionally adapt to the fact that her pregnancy will be quite different than other women with singletons.

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Carrying Twins?

Pregnancy is a phenomenon that puts up a different case for each woman. With the morning sickness and weakness taking a toll on you some women could also be wondering if they are carrying not one but two or more.  In a sensitive case like pregnancy not always do your hunches and family histories serve as a certificate for your twin pregnancy.  You need to confirm with your care provider as you need to care for three lives or more. 

Odds of carrying twins
Carrying twins is not what happens to every woman. It is rare and there are many factors aiding it. 

Age Factor – The trend of conceiving late has been a crucial contributor to the increase in the incidence of twin births. The possibility of giving birth to twins increases after the age of 35 and enhances when you are over 50. A woman’s chance of giving birth to twins at the age of 25 is less by half of what it would be at the age of 35. 

Assisted Reproductive Technology – For women who face problems in getting pregnant take additional help of assisted reproductive technology that includes ovulation-inducing drugs (infertility treatment) and in-vitro fertilization. Such treatments increase the odds of producing twins.  

Hereditary – Even before you get it diagnosed you are aware that you may be prone to conceiving twins. If your family has a history of fraternal twins you may be carrying a gene causing you to release more than one egg at a time, increasing the possibility of conceiving twins.

Symptoms of carrying twins
The symptoms shown by women carrying twins is same as the women carrying singletons. However, their feeling of morning sickness, nausea, weakness and food cravings will me more prominent. 

Extra Weight GainIt is obvious that if you are carrying two babies you will put on more weight than mothers carrying singles. The weight gain for women with twin pregnancy is 15-25 pounds as opposed to the 10-20 pounds of women with single pregnancy. When you start with rapid weight gain in the first trimester, it is a possibility that you may be carrying multiples. 

Big for Gestational AgeYour uterine size may increase before time and you may start to show early. You may often get to hear that you appear large for the gestational age. This will continue as the weeks pass as the twins require more space than one.  

High AFP Levels The baby, as it grows releases a protein called Alpha-fetoprotein. This protein is found in the mother blood. In case the level of this protein is higher than the amount seen in women with single pregnancies, it indicates you may be pregnant with multiple babies. 

Severe Morning Sickness As mentioned before the pregnancy symptoms for women carrying multiples will be graver than the ones carrying singles. Early signs like nausea, vomiting, breast tenderness and hunger may usually be more pronounced in women with multiples. 

Extreme Fatigue Fatigue is common for expecting women. However, the degree of fatigue is quite high for women with twins. They may tend to feel tired easily and experience lack of energy. 

Multiple Foetal Heartbeats and Ultrasound The Doppler machine can be used to confirm your twin pregnancy. If your health care provider can hear two distinct heartbeats, it means you are carrying twins.  Also you can see the babies in the womb through an ultrasound image. In case of multiple pregnancies it shows multiple embryo sacs, multiple embryos and multiple heartbeats. This can be done in the sixth week. 

Carrying twins a pleasant feeling of pregnancy that is doubled. Diagnosing it at the right time will help you care and prepare for it better. You may need to even consult your doctor with nutrition you will now require. Since your joy is now doubled so is the task, a little extra care of your self is indispensable.

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How to get pregnant with Twins

‘Two is better than one’ as the saying goes. Many couples today wish to have twins as it is a rare and a cute phenomenon. It is great for couple who wish to have two kids. Seeing the kids grow together, being a companion to the other, competing with each other etc is a precious sight. Also it is a boon for parents who wish to have more than on child as they complete the stages of diaper changing, breastfeeding, teething and other basic training all in one go. 

But not all couples are lucky to have twins. Some get it by chance and others need to plan carefully for it. However the efforts applied may not necessarily get you the desired result. However it is worth a try. Over the past years scientist have discovered many ways that can aid the conception of twins. Also there are a few traditional and experience based methods that can help you conceive twins. 

Family History – The genes of carrying twins are mostly hereditary. If your family shows history of having twins then you probably have a chance of conceiving in the same manner. It is also well known that such genes skip a generation; hence if your maternal grandmother had twins, you too seem prone to hyperovulation.

 Gain some weight – If you plan to have twins then forget about the weight loss plan, in fact put on a few pounds. As per a study obesity supports the conception of twins. The study shows that women with a body mass index of 30 or more are likely to get pregnant with twins. Also this is only limited to fraternal twins. But do not gain weigh over a margin, this will adversely affect your chance of getting pregnant leave alone getting pregnant with twins. 

Wait until 30+ – Older women i.e. 30 plus women have a better chance of conceiving twins than women at 25 years of age. After 30 the rate of ovulation speeds up as the right age for you to conceive gets going. Women in the age group of 35 – 40 have better scope of carrying a double joy. But this does not negate the chances of facing complications that occur on conceiving at a later stage. 

Diet for Twins – Your fuel, which runs the body, plays an important role in each and every function of your living. Hence the right kind of diet will also help you regulate your systems favourable to conceive twins. Including yams in your daily diet supports your twin plan. Yam contains a chemical compound that helps you to hyperovulate and increases the chances of getting twins. Increase the amount of dairy products in your meals. It has been reported that dairy products tend to increase twin conceptions by 7 times the normal rate.

Breastfeeding – Women often feel that they do not ovulate during breastfeeding. However, a survey and research has offered proof that women are nine times more likely to produce twins if they conceive while breastfeeding. 

Birth Control pills – Try to conceive immediately/ shortly after you stop taking birth control pills. Contraceptive pills control the hormonal level, on suddenly stopping their intake you body tries to adjust to the change on its own. Hence around this time your ovaries will release more than one egg in the first cycle or two. 

Scientific methods of Conceiving Twins – With the progress of science there are many methods available that will help you conceive twins. All you need to do is to consult your doctor and follow the method prescribed. The doctor may advice you not to take fertility pills unless you have some kind of fertilization issue. However, drugs that trigger ovulation also support multiple pregnancies. Invitro fertilization is another method that aids multiple pregnancies. Through this multiple embryos are implanted in the mother (to be on the safer side) and most of such cases result in multiple pregnancies. 

Above mentioned tricks are based on tradition and researches done in the later years. However, one must remember that conceiving twins is mostly luck.

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Pregnancy after C-Section

At the time of delivery due to complications or choice you may go through a normal delivery or caesarean. A normal delivery is a delivery through the vagina also called VBAC and a caesarean is a major surgery that includes making an incision in the lower abdomen in the uterus known as the bikini cut. This incision is usually made horizontally in the lower part of the uterus. 

Many women who have undergone a C-section ask of what would be the right duration for them to wait until the next pregnancy. A C-section normally takes 3 months from the time of the incision to heal. The incision scar on the uterus grows stronger if kept to rest for long. Hence, a woman should wait for at least a year before she decides on the next pregnancy, especially if the woman wishes for a VBAC.  There are many other reasons why a woman should consider a long gap before the next pregnancy – 

  • Your body has been through a major surgery and child birth. It needs time to recover and grow healthy and strong enough to prepare for the next major event. 
  • During a C-section the loss of blood is twice as much than a normal delivery. This makes you weak and leaves the body with a major task to recover the blood loss. You may also get anaemic which not the right condition for a pregnancy. 
  • Doctors also recommend having a healthy gap between the siblings, hence giving birth soon after a recent delivery may not be such a good idea.  

As per recent studies women who conceive in a short duration after a C-section face higher complications like a ruptured uterus or a premature or low-birth weight baby. Since your body is not yet prepared for the next child development and has to recover from the loss of nutrients and blood, it is better to take a year’s break at the least. Also with baby around who needs your undivided attention and special care in the growing years, you need to give some time to your new role as a parent. It could be a mess if you try to balance in two boats. 

The major hazards of having a pregnancy soon after a C-section could be as follows – 

  • A c-section followed by another delivery in a gap of less than two months shows high risk of the scar rupturing 
  • The woman could suffer with problems related to placenta. Probably the placenta may separate from the uterus wall prematurely, if there is not enough gap between the c-section and next pregnancy. 
  • The child may suffer with low birth weight and your pregnancy may encounter other complications 

After caesarean a women needs to take god care of herself as she may take some time to completely recover from a major disruption if the body. Women who are more than the age of 30 may desire a sooner pregnancy as they are approaching the risk area. In that case you may approach your doctor for a better remedy suiting your case. Also the right time to get pregnant again may differ from woman to woman, as each has a different case.

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Pregnancy after Miscarriage

The joy of pregnancy can be spoilt by the mishap of miscarriage. Apart from the physical stress women go through a lot of emotional trauma which is a mixture of feeling like guilt, sadness, depression and isolation. The misfortune of a miscarriage will also leave the woman with desperateness to have a child soon. At this point of time deciding on another pregnancy can be difficult considering the emotional state of the couple and the health of the woman. 

The decision of another pregnancy after a miscarriage needs to be taken with utmost care, mostly after consulting your doctor. However, you may also think of waiting for some time before you step into your next pregnancy. 

The frequently asked question ‘When can I try for another pregnancy?’ has no definite answer. There are many doctors and even the WHO (World Health Organization) recommend a woman to wait for at least six months or three normal period cycles to complete before the couple plans the next pregnancy. A miscarriage takes a toll on the woman’s body physically and emotionally. The uterus needs to be clean of the endometrial lining and be healthy again to prepare for the next pregnancy. If the womb is not ready to support another pregnancy the woman may experience repeated miscarriage. 

Another group of experts say that there is no reason for a woman to wait that long before the next pregnancy. As per a new study conducted it says that the sooner the woman conceives again the better are her chances of a healthy pregnancy. Women who have conceived with the six months of miscarriage are less likely to miscarry again or experience pregnancy related complications as compared to women who have waited a longer time. 

The right answer to the time required for the next pregnancy after a miscarriage is controversial with experts contemplating on different ideas. However, the best would be to consult your care provider as they can make a complete analysis of your condition and help decide the next step. 

You may also wonder about the chances of another miscarriage after attempting another pregnancy. However, as per records nearly 85% of the women who have tried another pregnancy after a miscarriage enjoy a healthy pregnancy the next time. Also women with a history of more than one loss end up with a successful delivery. 

It is important that you consult your doctor before planning another pregnancy. You need to get yourself completely checked and tested for any complications. Women who have had more than 2 miscarriages, are above the age of 35, suffer from a disease that may affect pregnancy like diabetes or have fertility problems should consult a doctor before planning the next pregnancy. 

But you need to keep in mind that your next pregnancy may not be as pleasant as the one before. You may experience recurrent thoughts of the previous loss. In such a case ask for your case to be monitored carefully. Approach a counsellor if the depression bothers you too much.  Also be sure to practice the guidelines as prescribed by the physician to be on the safer side.

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