You are 40+ and pregnant! Now What? First of all, CONGRATULATIONS my sister! You have made it into an elite club. We welcome you!
Pregnancy and childbirth, I had done it successfully two different ways before so I technically knew I could do it again. Once via a cesarean section and once with a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). It had just been so long ago, it felt like being pregnant for the first time.
So when I knew I was pregnant again for the 3rd time after 11 years, I didn’t remember all the details. I had to read books, magazines, and research Pinterest blog articles like a first-time mom. Here are some tips on how to start your pregnancy journey over 40 with Joy!
After you recover from the initial shock, use these first 8 steps on your new journey through Pregnancy into Motherhood.
1) 40+ and Pregnant! Now What? Absorb the Shock – Breathe! You Got This!
I shared the story of how I found out I was pregnant for the first time in 11 years in the post: When We Make Plans and God Laughs. But when I tell you it was a shock, it was not an understatement. We were not trying to expand our family. We were perfectly satisfied with two beautiful daughters, and two dogs, and felt perfectly blessed with our family. In fact, I was technically using birth control. The details of that glitch is another story. So when I was expecting again for the 3rd time, 11 years after my last pregnancy, it was a shock. But all there is to do is laugh, smile, breathe, and take the next step.
2) Confirm the results – Call your Doc
Go ahead and call your doctor to confirm. They will ask you when was your last period when you think you conceived, along with other details. I was in a special situation where I had to call to find an OB/GYN. I was under the care of my internal medicine practitioner since it had been so long since my last pregnancy, my last OB had moved on from her practice. That when you know it’s been a long time.
3) Share the Great News with Dad
Time to break the news to Daddy! I pray that your baby’s father is as excited as mine was with the news that he would be a daddy again. You can look up some fancy way to break the news on Pinterest if you want the moment to be extra memorable, but I couldn’t wait. I had to tell him that day. I didn’t have time to shop for props or plan a special pregnancy stick reveal party.
I chose to send him a Pic Collage with a picture of the pregnancy test and some pictures of us and the kids and announce that he was going to be a Dad of Three soon. He was dumbfounded and elated!!
Talk over your thoughts, your joy, your surprise, your fears. This is the beginning of a journey for both of you, whether it is your first time or your 7th. It is a joyful and unique experience you are about to embark on. Walking it hand in hand with your partner is a special privilege.
4) Begin a Journal or Notebook
This life experience needs a journal. Even if this is not your thing, jotting down how you are feeling and notes after doctor appointments will be useful in the future. And could become a treasured memory. I used my notebook to record those memories plus it served as a place to organize my thoughts, lists, registry wishes, etc. Although I have access to electronic notes and reminders, I will always be a paper person at heart. Being able to look back at these notes is fun.
5) Do not Start Eating for Two, Just Eat Better.
First things first, start taking prenatal vitamins if you were not already and think about healthy eating if this is not your habit. Do not make the mistake that you need to eat for two. Yes, your body is working overtime creating a suitable nest for your lovey. You are going to be tired, and you may feel sick. However, you don’t need to double your calorie intake. Especially since your baby at this stage is the size of a pea, not the size of a full-grown adult.
Here is a great post about the Top 5 Pregnancy Essentials for Experienced Moms over 40.
6) After the Week 12 Checkup and the Thumbs up from Doc, You can feel confident to begin telling the world your good news, and by all means, celebrate with them.
I was surprised when I first met my new OB/GYN at the 8 weeks check-up, that he recommended I keep quiet about my little love bug until after the week 12 checkup. Especially to my kids. And since my children were nearly young adults at the time, I couldn’t risk telling most anyone because my girls would hear about it for sure.
I was curious as to why I should keep quiet, especially as I wanted many prayer warriors on my team lifting up prayers for a healthy pregnancy. Well, I didn’t realize the extent of the high-risk category I was going to be in. I had a few factors going against me although I was a very healthy 41-year-old at the time.
My first pregnancy was high risk and considered at the time “Failure to Thrive in Utero.”
My eldest daughter had a genetic condition called Turners Syndrome. It was a mosaic form of the disorder, it was not hereditary in our case, and not expected to be repeated. She was born at 31 weeks (9 weeks early) at 2lbs 2oz. Delivered via C-Section. So it was a high-risk pregnancy for sure.
My second baby was healthy and full-term and delivered vaginally.
Nonetheless, because of past history and because of the risks for older mothers, our baby 3 would need to be screened for all the major disorders. And at my age, the risk of miscarriage was higher than that of a healthy 25-year-old.
He was wise to suggest that my children would have a hard time understanding if I lost the baby in the early weeks, and it was much safer to share our excitement once the big risk period was behind us.
So I kept my lips shut for a few weeks and I must say, it was fun in a way knowing something big I couldn’t share yet.
I did share with my mom but made her promise not to tell my dad or brother. That is a fun story for another time.
Fun fact, did you know my pregnancy was considered Geriatric? WHAT??? Bless them, they know better than to use that term much today. But if you were to peek into the medical files, that is how they categorize it. Talk about archaic. Wait, not us, I mean the term… oh, never mind.
7) 40+ and Pregnant – Get ready for the ride of a lifetime.
This is a ride of a lifetime. What a fun beautiful journey motherhood is. The ups, the downs of pregnancy are really second to no other experience.
It is exhilarating and downright mortifying in more ways than one. You are holding in your womb a life. A life with hopes and dreams, not your own, independent of you, unique in this world.
But for 9 or so beautiful months, you two are connected, you are two in one. It is a magnificent privilege. Embrace the journey and enjoy the ride.
8) You are unique. Do not compare.
Your 40+ and pregnant journey will be unlike anyone else’s. Your experience with pregnancy will be completely, uniquely, yours, though similar in many ways to others.
Your belly will be different than your friend’s, or your mom’s, or even the last time you carried. Your symptoms and body changes will be different. The food you crave may be different.
Your ability to sleep may be different. Your love life while pregnant may be unique to the experiences of others.
You may be required to visit the doctor for checkups and ultrasounds more than your 27-year-old cousin who is also pregnant. That’s fine, that doesn’t mean you will have an unhealthy baby. Check out this article on the 5 advantages of a pregnancy in your 40s.
Embrace your unique journey and do not worry if you are different and wonder if you are normal. There is no such thing. Each and every pregnancy is different. As long as you feel okay and your doctor is giving you thumbs up at each checkup, feel free to enjoy your experience to the fullest.
Chandra is the chocolate-chip loving mother of 2 teenage girls who started over again with a baby boy in her 40’s! She is the author of The Mom’s Playbook to Conquering Softball Season. She gives other moms the tools they need to prepare their daughters for real life. Her content is centered on helping girls grow up to be well-rounded, equipped, expressive, confident, intelligent, capable, kind and independent.