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Monday, October 22, 2007

Top 8 Health Tips for Late-in-Life Moms

Be Healthy. Stay Healthy.

If pregnancy is postponed until your mid-thirties or later, it is advantageous to take care of yourself. Here are the basic things you need to do to maintain your health:

1. Maintain a healthy weight and Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is the measure of body fat based on height and weight. Being overweight can exacerbate medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. (Check out the BMI calculator at http://nhlbisupport.com/bmi/.)

2. Exercise. Being in good physical condition benefits you during your pregnancy, as well as during labor and delivery.

3. Take folic acid. Nutritional guidelines now recommend that any woman of childbearing age take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid to help prevent neural tube defects. The neural tube is the precursor of the central nervous system that includes the brain and spinal cord. Because the neural tube closes within weeks of conception, a woman should definitely be taking folic acid several months prior to getting pregnant. Folic acid has to be well established on a cellular level to ensure that the tube closes correctly.

4. Don’t smoke. If you do smoke cigarettes, stop—preferably before you get pregnant.

5. Don’t drink alcohol if you are trying to get pregnant and during your pregnancy.

6. Do Kegel exercises. They help maintain the strength and tone of your pelvic floor muscles.

7. Check your immunizations prior to conception. Ensure you are immune to rubella and chickenpox (varicella). If not, be immunized at least three months for both chickenpox and rubella before getting pregnant.

8. Have your thyroid checked prior to pregnancy because if you are hypothyroid—when your thyroid is not functioning well—it is usually easily treatable. Doing so will help prevent maternal and fetal complications during pregnancy.
~Excerpted from Baby Changes Everything:Embracing and Preparing for Motherhood after 35 by Beth K. Vogt, Revell, August 2007

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