Health Information

Reducing Your Risk of Chromosomal Abnormalities

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The risk of passing a chromosomal abnormality on to your baby increases with the mother’s age. Although, research has shown that most women in their late 30s and 40s can have a healthy pregnancy and a normal, healthy baby.

If you are over 35 and trying to conceive, consider the following guidelines to increase your chances of a successful, healthy pregnancy and baby:

  • See a doctor around three months before you try to conceive to review your medical conditions, family medical history, medications, and immunizations.
  • Take a prenatal vitamin containing 400 micrograms of folic acid daily about three months before you become pregnant and through the first month of pregnancy to help prevent neural tube defects.
  • Get early and regular prenatal care.
  • Eat a variety of nutritious foods, including foods containing folic acid, like fortified breakfast cereals, enriched grain products, leafy green vegetables, oranges and orange juice, and peanuts.
  • Begin pregnancy at a healthy weight.
  • Do not smoke or drink alcohol.
  • Don't use any drug, even over-the-counter medications or herbal preparations, unless recommended by a doctor who knows you are pregnant.

Revision Information

  • Chromosome abnormalities. National Human Genome Research Institute website. Available at: http://www.genome.gov/11508982 . Updated October 13, 2011. Accessed July 24, 2013.