Women's Health

I’m Advanced Maternal Age (AMA): How Can I Maintain a Healthy Pregnancy?

When a woman becomes pregnant at age 35 or older, she is considered to be advanced maternal age (AMA), putting her at a higher risk of having pregnancy complications.

Regina Whitfield-Kekessi MD, explains simple measures you can take on your own to lower your risk for developing complications associated with getting pregnant later in life.

Tip #1: Exercise Regularly

If you have always been an avid exerciser, you are safe to continue with the regimen throughout your pregnancy, because your body has been conditioned for rigorous activity. “We have some women who run marathons regularly, and choose to continue in the pregnancy. This is reasonable as long as they are without signs and symptoms of concern [bleeding, cramping or shortened cervix]. At some point, you are going to become uncomfortable,” Dr. Whitfield-Kekessi says.

Generally, walking 30 minutes a day is safe across the board. Dr. Whitfield-Kekessi also suggests pregnancy yoga as an option because it’s low-impact.

Tip #2: Follow a Nutritious Diet

Following a nutritious diet throughout your pregnancy is one of the best things you can do to help your baby grow and develop normally. You should focus on eating foods that are high in protein, low in fat and low in sugar.

Maintaining a healthy diet helps prevent:

  • Anemia and infections in the mother
  • Poor healing
  • An early birth of the baby
  • A low birthweight baby

If you are overweight or obese, Dr. Whitfield-Kekessi also recommends requesting a dietitian consult if you are trying to conceive or during the first trimester, before diabetes becomes an issue.

Tip #3: Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water helps with the prevention of pre-term contractions and also helps the body maintain its normal function. “In a pregnant patient, things slow down due to hormonal changes,” Dr. Whitfield-Kekessi points out. “As patients progress in their pregnancy, heartburn or constipation are more of an issue.” Also, patients are at an increased risk for gallbladder disease, so proper hydration helps prevent this.

She suggests drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day, and adding fiber to your diet, by way of high-fiber foods or fiber supplements, to help minimize these issues.

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