How to Recover Quickly From Pregnancy Over 35
By Kathy Zucker
What a rollercoaster this pregnancy has been. It went from amazingly healthy to incredibly scary in a week’s time, culminating in a delivery that was almost identical to my last one.
Of all the unexpected twists to this pregnancy, the recovery has been the most surprising.
When I became pregnant at age 37, I was in the best physical condition of my life, so the first two trimesters were uneventful before my blood pressure started becoming wonky. I have experienced hypertension in all three pregnancies, but it manifests differently each time.
This time, it made my blood pressure skyrocket into the danger zone (anything above 160 over 100), which bought me three days in the observation ward at NYU Medical Center. If my blood pressure could not be controlled, then my doctors would have induced a premature delivery to save my life and the baby’s. Fortunately, the news was good and I was sent home on medication and strict bedrest.
My entire world stopped functioning and revolved around my blood pressure readings at biweekly doctor’s appointments. I went into each visit expecting to get sent to the hospital and induced that day.
The weeks crept past and suddenly the baby wasn’t premature anymore. My doctor scheduled an induction, but I had no idea what to expect. If my blood pressure soared during delivery, all bets were off. I had to sign a consent form for general anesthesia, absolving the hospital of responsibility for damage to my teeth and trachea if they had to do an emergency cesarean section.
It’s hard to put together a birth plan when you are wondering if you are going to die during delivery, but I decided to follow the same route as with my second pregnancy. After being induced with pitocin, I would hold out as long as possible and manage the pain with breathing, and decide whether to get an epidural when my doctor broke my water.
Once I got into the delivery room, it was like groundhog day. It took a few hours to dilate to four centimeters, when my water broke and everything else happened superfast (I dilated six centimeters in 20 minutes and pushed twice before the baby arrived). I was walking around a couple of hours after delivery and my stomach started flattening out within 24 hours, so I was able to fit into regular clothes and walk out of the hospital wheeling my rollbag.
So the final analysis? Never make assumptions about how anything in pregnancy, or indeed in life, is going to work out. All I can ever do is deal with situations as they come up. However, I can control my fitness and diet; life is quickly getting back to normal because of my healthy, low-sodium diet and good physical condition at the start of this pregnancy.
Kathy Zucker, serial entrepreneur and mother of two toddlers, writes about juggling career and family in an urban setting. See what Kathy is up to at her blog and on Twitter.