Lisa Forde fell pregnant easily at 37 and is now a mother of two and the founder and owner of Dotty About Paper and Tree of Hearts Wedding Stationery, creating event and wedding stationery for all monumental occasions.
With the news of a new royal baby on the way, there has been a cause for a celebration, and joy. But there has also been some backlash. At 37, Meghan Markle has been accused of being an ‘older’ mum, and her pregnancy has come under scrutiny. If like me and Meghan, you are expecting a baby at a later age, I have provided below some of my top tips on how to deal with a pregnancy at an ‘older’ age.
1) Be mindful of what you put in your body
Before pregnancy, I followed a generally healthy diet with lots of protein and vegetables. This worked with my exercise habits and made me feel good. When I fell pregnant, I made a few changes to my diet, but nothing too dramatic. I made sure to continue eating plenty of fruit and vegetables every day, as I knew mineral-and-vitamin-high foods were beneficial to both me and the baby. I kept a reasonably high amount of protein in my diet but swapped out red meats for healthier options, including fish, beans, and pulses. I also increased my intake in dairy, enjoying lots of cheese and yoghurts, as I knew this was also beneficial for my son. I kept my portion sizes the same, making sure I wasn’t “eating for two” as I didn’t want to gain loads of baby weight! I kept in mind that my son was only going to be around 7 pounds and ate according to that.
2) Walk as much as you can
I always exercised before pregnancy, and I didn’t want this to stop. In my mindset, a healthy body would create a healthy baby. Although I tried my best to exercise daily, I never did any strenuous exercises throughout my pregnancy, as these can be more harm than good. My favourite ways to keep healthy were walking every day for around half an hour and swimming. I continued a regular swimming routine after birth, as I took my son to swim classes. Remember that even doing a little amount of exercise whilst pregnancy will be beneficial for your physical and mental health, which will help your baby, too.
3) Forgive yourself for working fewer hours
One of the main reasons for planning to have my second child at 37 was because I had previously been too involved in my career. Some people may view this as somewhat selfish, but I think that as a woman there is nothing wrong with prioritising your career over your personal life.
In my early thirties, I set up two online stationery companies, Dotty about Paper and Tree of Hearts, which over time became like my babies - time-consuming and stressful, but also my passion! I knew that having a baby would have a big impact on my work, meaning I would ultimately have to juggle nurturing a new-born baby with running a business for several months.
However, when I began approaching my late 30s, I knew I would need to have a baby soon to fulfil my personal life goals. When my son was born, I will admit that I did struggle to maintain a successful work-life balance. I was desperate to throw myself back into work but also wanted to continue bonding with my new baby. Over time, I reduced my working hours to make sure I could still make time for my family, husband, and friends, while also having a successful career. Spending quality time with those I love is still a huge priority.
4) There is no need to worry!
When I was pregnant with my son, I was quite concerned about the health risks that came with geriatric pregnancy (pregnancy after 35) as I had heard so many pregnancy horror stories. However, I now wish that I hadn’t spent so much time worrying - my son turned out perfectly healthy. If you are trying for a baby at a later age, you may have to try for longer to conceive. However, this can change depending on the mother.
Be prepared to see many younger women when you go to antenatal classes; it can put a strain on your self-confidence and make you wonder if you’re going to be a good mother. To combat this, try making friends with other pregnant women around your age. This will help you feel less lonely during your pregnancy. I was lucky at the time, as a few of my best friends also had babies later in life.
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