Various factors affecting your childbearing years will determine if you have a healthy pregnancy. Learning about what vitamins to take and caring for medical conditions and what actions to take before and during pregnancy must be considered in your childbearing years.
The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines childbearing age/years as the time in a woman's life when she is at "an age when it is physically possible for her to have babies." Biology-Online.org defines child bearing age as "the period in a woman's life between puberty and menopause." A woman's childbearing years are generally considered to be between the ages of 15 to 44 and, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, "nearly all women end their childbearing by age 45."
To prevent birth defects, the Center for Disease Control recommends taking 400 micrograms of the B vitamin, folic acid, daily for at least one month before getting pregnant. The CDC also advises you to refrain from drinking and smoking, which according to the CDC, "is the single most preventable cause of illness and death among mothers and infants;" to take care of your health if you have a medical condition and to make sure that your vaccinations are up to date, which, according to the CDC, are determined by factors such as your age, lifestyle, high-risk conditions; to consult with your doctor about any medications that you're taking and to stay away from harmful chemicals and toxic substances or materials as these may cause birth defects.
Once you're pregnant, it's important for you and your baby to remain healthy. Maintain an overall balanced diet, and ask your doctor about a regular exercise routine that's safe to do during pregnancy. The CDC advises that pregnant women should learn how to help prevent harmful infections such as the West Nile Virus, the flu and passing on HIV --- all of which are harmful not only to you but to your unborn child. The CDC also advises to control your diabetes to lower the chance for birth defects and to control your blood pressure.
According to the "British Medical Journal," the best age for childbearing is between the ages of 20 to 35. Pregnant women under the age of 18, women over 35 years of age, diabetics, women who give birth to twins or more than twins and women with current medical problems, eating disorders or a previous high-risk pregnancy are all considered high-risk pregnancies. Women who fall under any of these categories need to be observed and managed more closely while pregnant. The CDC lists bleeding disorders, traveling, violence against women and infections and toxins from natural disasters as other concerns during pregnancy.
- Biology-Online.org: Childbearing age
- Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English: Child Bearing
- U.S. Census Bureau; Motherhood; The Fertility of American Women; 2000
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Pregnancy; What Should You Know?
- Medical News Today; "Best Age for Childbearing Remains 20-35 --- Delaying Risks Heartbreak, Say Experts"; Emma Dickinson; September 2005
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Vaccines and Immunizations: Pregnant Women
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images
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