*DISCLAIMER: Do I even need to offer this disclaimer that I am in no way a doctor or an expert of any sort? This is only my own experience, so please discuss any suggestions with your own doctor first.
Getting and sustaining this pregnancy over 40 had very little, if anything, to do with my own actions; but at least there were a few tangible things I did to help me feel slightly less powerless in the experience.
After my December 2014 miscarriage (a separate miscarriage from the one I wrote about here), I was emotionally spent. Between the pregnancy losses and other losses and challenges life had thrown our way, I needed to reclaim a sense of victory and empowerment in my life in areas I could at least have some control over. I did not want to be done with pregnancy, but I just needed a break, despite knowing that every month that goes by, the window closes a little more.
In the meantime, here are the things I did that MAY have contributed to a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.
8 Things I Did
- I decided to focus on my physical body since I could somewhat control my eating and working out. I threw my efforts into an “extreme workout” through Beachbody. The workout I chose initially was P90X3. I completed all 90 days with almost no days off, and my body definitely responded well. I noticed I felt stronger in mind, spirit, and body. Check out some of my fun workout photos here
- I continued to take a daily prenatal vitamin, which I had been doing for about 4 years to keep my levels of folic acid up (a critical component to healthy embryo development).
- I tried to watch my nutrition and eat clean as often as I could.
- I read somewhere that Vitamin D might influence fertility and the health of pregnancy. After having my bloodwork done, I knew I was a little low, as are most women these days, so I took a daily dose with 5,000 IU’s of vitamin D3.
- I read some interesting fertility research that Ubiquinol CoQ10 may extend the life of eggs in older women, so I purchased a liquid version of this pricey little supplement and took a high dose every day (and stopped as soon as I was pregnant). NOTE: It MUST be the Ubiquinol CoQ10, not the Ubiquinone.
- I tracked my cycles with a Clearblue Fertility Monitor. I did not have time to mess with tracking temperature, etc., and make sense of all that. I needed something digital to alert me. (NOTE: Ironically, we weren’t quite ready to get pregnant again when Sarah Anne came along, so the monitor use wasn’t intentional that time around. I was tracking just to be aware, but had not had an Lh surge yet).
- The day I got a positive pregnancy test, I called my doctor, who automatically put me on progesterone which I took the entire first trimester. I had not taken progesterone in previous pregnancies, though it likely would not have made a different in those. (In fact, the first miscarriage was tested to be Trisomy 10, so no amount of progesterone can alter already assembled chromosomes). Progesterone isn’t proven to prevent miscarriage; however, some research indicates that it may help and doesn’t hurt. (Read about that here). Although we hadn’t tested my natural levels, my doctor and I decided after my last miscarriage that next pregnancy, I’d automatically start supplementing. Despite the lack of certain evidence, I took that medicine like my babies life depended on it.
- I prayed. 😉
If we had not gotten pregnant & stayed pregnant, I would have chosen to see a fertility specialist to discuss preimplantation genetic screening (eggs prescreened for the correct number of chromosomes) and considered the IVF route. While I was (surprisingly) fortunate to be able to get pregnant naturally with ease, I was not able to sustain it before Sarah Anne. I would have elected IVF just for the increased peace of mind that the eggs already had their chromosomes screened. That factor alone would have been worth it. However, it turned out we never got to that point…