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31 July, 2008

How To-75: "How to Prepare Yourself for a Healthy Pregnancy"

How to Prepare Yourself for a Healthy Pregnancy at 35 Years Old

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Thirty-five seems to be the turning point for an increase in fertility issues, miscarriage, premature delivery, stillbirth, placenta previa (placenta covering the cervix), birth defects, high blood pressure, diabetes, as well as complications during labor in an expectant mother. There are ways to reduce the risks. A healthier you is a greater guarantee for a healthy baby.


Before Pregnancy

  1. Get a thorough blood, urine, blood pressure, diabetes test done.
  2. Have a thorough gynecological exam done and talk to your ob/gyn that you are planning to conceive.
  3. Have a family history ready for your doctor. If miscarriages have taken place in the past, then share this information with your doctor. Ditto with seizures, high blood pressure, diabetes, or any chronic medical conditions. Also provide a list of all medication (short-term and long-term), vitamins, and 'natural' or 'health' herbs, pills, drinks, etc.
  4. Take vitamins your doctor prescribes for 3 months before you plan on conceiving. These contain, among other things, folic acid, which is critical for the development for the fetus.
  5. Stop drinking alcohol, smoking, and/or drugs, if you use any of these intoxicants. Ditto for your significant other, whose sperm quality is affected by these habits. There is no such thing as 'moderate' smoking or drugs. Planning for pregnancy calls for complete cessation of these activities before, during, and after pregnancy.
  6. Get on a regular routine for sleeping, eating, exercising, and relaxing. Stress works against getting pregnant and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Once the baby is out, routine is out of the question for the next 18 years or so.
  7. If overweight (have the doctor tell you what normal is, with body fat measurements, charts, etc.), focus on losing weight first by dieting and exercising, both in moderation. Excess weight may lead to increased chances for gestational diabetes as well as difficult labor. To make your plan foolproof, consult with a dietician to ensure you are getting the very best of nutrients in the right portions.
  8. Attend yoga classes two to three times a week for both mind and body, i.e., flexibility, strength, breath control, relaxation, and focus. Get regular massages to relax further.

During Pregnancy

  1. Stick to your doctor's appointments and treat them as sacrosanct. Review with the doctor blood test results taken during pregnancy, especially the tests that cover the likelihood of specific birth defects.
  2. Stick to your doctor's prescribed list of prenatal screening tests. Being over 35, amniocentensis will most likely be recommended. To get more information on the
  3. Listen to your instinct. If something feels wrong, go to your doctor's or to the hospital.
  4. Keep your visits to beauty salons to a minimum. Avoid all chemical fumes. Avoid getting your hair colored or chemically treated. Minimize the manicure/pedicure time. Request for a well-ventilated area.
  5. Maintain your diet to prevent gestational diabetes, under strict supervision from a dietician. Gestational diabetes can be a precursor to diabetes later on in life, and results in bigger babies with their own health problems, not to mention a riskier labor. A dietician will also avoid which foods to avoid or reduce, e.g., fish that carries higher risk for mercury, etc.
  6. Make regular appointments with a masseuse who specializes in pre-natal massage. Regular massage, especially Swedish, Shiatsu, Deep Tissue, and Reflexology are out of the question.
  7. Stick to a regular routine for sleeping, eating, exercising, and relaxing.
  8. Enroll in pre-natal yoga classes two to three times a week. Take moderate walks up to 30 mins. a day.
  9. The first trimester is immensely taxing. Listen to your body, slow down, and get extra sleep (learn to sleep on your side, not back). Weekend afternoon naps are de rigeur. You may or may not experience morning sickness or nausea. Keep nausea at bay by sticking to a 6 times a day diet in small quantities and by avoiding strong smells and greasy, fried foods. Ditch the high heels and switch to flats and supportive sneakers, preferably. Get used to getting bigger shoes to accommodate for the 'swelling'. Avoid getting into stressful situations, if possible. Your body is slowly increasing its internal heat. Plan your wardrobe accordingly, even in winter.
  10. The second trimester is the golden trimester. Keep up the routine.
  11. The third trimester is again very taxing, especially the last 4 weeks. If working, and if the doctor advises that yours is a high risk pregnancy, then take off from work earlier than scheduled, as per the doctor's instructions. Keep up the yoga, sleep, diet, light exercise.


  • Don't be shy to ask people to give up their seats in a bus, train, or subway car. Point to your belly and request politely for a seat.
  • At work, have an emergency plan ready for number 1 and 2 colleagues who would stay with you throughout the trip to the hospital should you go into labor while at work. Include doctor's name, number, hospital name, number, address, map, directions, personal contacts' information.


  • Any thing that just feels wrong, e.g., baby not moving when he/she regularly does so.
  • Sudden, sharp pain anywhere.
  • Lightheadness, fainting, sudden sweating, hot flashes.
  • Bleeding.
  • Anybody/anything 'bumping' into your pregnant belly or your back. Must be avoided at all costs. This means using both arms even in a crowded subway to guard your belly and asking people for space.
  • Avoid any situation that may result in your falling (even on your butt). Attempting to 'waddle' on icy sidewalks and on stairs is a no-no.
  • If you fall or are bumped into, go to the doctor or the hospital.

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