Hudson Valley Parent

HVP - September 2014

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Pregnant after 35 I f you have put off becom- ing pregnant because of your career, relationship issues, or you just weren't ready, you may have questions about becoming pregnant as you get older. Obstetrician Jed Turk, MD gives straight-forward answers to some of women's top concerns. Is it harder to become pregnant as women get older? Not necessarily. Those who have regular menstrual cycles don't usually have infertility issues. Having difficulty in becoming pregnant is not age related. Any specic risks to being pregnant after 35? If there are no underlying health issues, like diabetes and high blood pressure, then women are more likely to have a healthy baby. Although there are some higher genetic risks, the fact is age is not a big risk factor. Are there higher risks of miscarriage? I have not seen any significant correlation between younger and older women becoming preg- nant and having miscarriages. Some women have asked about miscarriages due to amniocentesis, but none of my patients have had miscarriages after amnio. And in terms of having a first baby when you are older, the odds are in your favor not to miscarry. What chromosomal issues should I be concerned about? The genetic indices do increase as women get older. We offer genetic counseling to all our older patients plus optional screening tests. The screenings are done between the 12th and 13th weeks of pregnancy and are non-invasive. A Nuchal Translucency scan (NT) measures the fold behind the baby's neck and is combined with some chemicals in the mother's blood to calculate the odds of Down's syndrome as well as some other chromosomal abnormalities. Depending upon the NT scan results, your doctor may recommend a Cell-free DNA test, which detects chromosomal abnormalities using a blood prick from the mother. The results of this test are more accurate then the NT scan and less invasive then amniocentesis. Should I see a genetic counselor? Speaking to a genetic counselor about the genetic risk factors can help alleviate any fears and misconceptions you may have, while allowing you to make an informed decision. What can I do to increase my chance of having a healthy baby? Regardless of how old you are when you become pregnant, the advice is the same: 1. Eat healthy, avoid junk food, and don't gain excessive weight. Women who gain a lot of weight may have larger babies; 2. Get plenty of sleep and exercise as tolerated; 3. Manage any medical conditions that you were diagnosed with before your pregnancy and stay on top of it. Jed Turk, Board Certified OBGYN, sees patients in HQMP'S OB/GYN Poughkeepsie, New Paltz and Fishkill offices. He delivers at Vassar Brothers Medical Center and is certified in robotic surgery. "Having difficulty in becoming pregnant is not age related." Jed Turk, MD Health Quest Medical Practice POUGHKEEPSIE FISHKILL RHINEBECK KINGSTON NEW PALTZ

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