Advanced Maternal Age — the term used to describe pregnancy, ages 35 plus. Every time I hear it, it sounds so harsh, a little rude, even.
This past August I gave birth at (let’s keep this to most women’s standards, shall we?) 35 plus - Advanced maternal age.
For most women, having a baby at 35 plus puts them at a higher risk to experience health problems: everything from high blood pressure to death.
Aside from being fatigued (who isn’t?) my pregnancy went-off without a hitch. I was able to maintain a steady, healthy blood pressure, and I delivered a healthy, slightly larger than average-sized, full-term baby.
Pre-pregnancy I had a low body mass index (BMI), normal blood pressure, exercised regularly; and I while I loved to indulge in the occasional cheeseburger, for the most part, I ate a healthy diet.
Unfortunately, 60 percent of adults and more than 25 percent of the youth in Colorado are overweight or obese, with numbers on the rise.
What’s the “BIG” deal anyway, and why do we put so much emphasis on our BMI?
Tipping the scale can lead to a slew of health problems. This can include anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, stroke and cancer (Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment).
It’s a simple formula: more energy is going in than is being burned off.
A lot of people, adults and children, are drinking their calories, the sugary drinks, that is. It’s contributing to a single source of calorie intake, alone. Any sort of pop or cola, fruit punch, sweetened powdered drinks and anything that ends with an “ade” (e.g., lemonade, sport drinks, etc.).
So many children are drinking sports drinks leisurely. Unless someone has engaged in extreme physical activity — we’re talking sweating profusely for a minimum of 60-90 minutes — there is no need to replenish the electrolytes that would be provided by sports drinks; it is counteractive—not to mention the high sugar intake—it can lead to tooth decay, and did I mention, un-needed calories?
Water always has been and always will be the best way to hydrate. My children have milk at their main meals, water in-between and I limit (100%) juice to no more than once per day.
As a family, we eat breakfast, lunch and we (teasingly argue over rather it’s called) supper/dinner; we have snacks in-between. Meals provide a protein, whole grain, and an assortment of fruits and vegetables. Snacks provide a minimum of two of the listed food groups above. Sugary or processed foods, we call treats, and are only occasionally given.
To be proactive, as well as to combat weight and obesity issues, it is essential that adults and children get at least one hour, daily, of physical activity. After that, you should rest easy, and you need it. Amazingly, healthy sleep habits contribute to, or shall we say, can help to decrease your waistline. Children need extra sleep. Limit screen time to no more than two hours daily (this is especially important for children). Eat more fruit and vegetables; they are nature’s medicine—the more the better. And I really can’t say it enough: ditch the drinks! drink the water.
If you’re curious how you or your child’s BMI shakes out, you can visit: nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm.
It’s been a year since I’ve given birth. I’m not quite back to where I was before. I still have a few pounds to lose, but I’m eating healthy, moving frequently, sleeping through the night (again) and drinking my water.
After all, I’m advanced maternal age.
Gina (Paradiso) Cathcart is the director of Carecorner, Ltd., Colorado Respite Care. She is a healthcare educator, passionate about service to others and quality patient care. Gina attended Regis University and Colorado State University-Pueblo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.