Getting Pregnant After 40

Whether getting pregnant after 40 was in your plans all along or the decision to do so just happened, you will be facing some challenges. There are many discouraging statistics concerning fertility after age 35 and it is true that every part of pregnancy is harder as you get older, from conception to potential complications. It is, however, still possible to have a healthy child after age 40.

What Are the Chances of Getting Pregnant After 40?

The chances of getting pregnant after 40 will vary by person and age.

  • When you are 40, you have around a 20 percent chance of naturally getting pregnant.
  • By the time you are in your mid-40s, this number drops to under 5 percent.
  • Once you reach 45, your chances of getting pregnant naturally have dramatically dropped. This is because the number of eggs you have begins to decline up to 15 years before menopause becomes a concern.

In addition to the reduced number of eggs, the quality of eggs is also a concern as you get older. In your 40s, it is more likely that the eggs released by your ovaries will have chromosomal abnormalities or other structural problems. These issues may increase the risk of birth defects or miscarriage. That leads to higher instances of these complications in older women.

How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant After 40?

Though not impossible, it is more difficult to get pregnant after 40. In order to be successful, there are several things you need to do to increase your chances.

1. Follow a Healthy Diet

One of the best ways to increase your chances of getting pregnant after 40 is to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. Aim to follow all of these tips and you will improve your ability to conceive:

  • Find a good prenatal vitamin with folic acid. Your doctor should have a suggestion.
  • Opt for fruits and vegetables with minimal preparation. This allows them to retain more fiber and other nutrients. Also, ensure you eat fruits and vegetables that are blue, orange, green, and yellow daily and wash them beforehand.
  • Make sure you consume enough calcium as this strengthens your bones and makes microscopic cell processes within the body easier. Eat or drink low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, and occasionally ice cream.
  • Try to eat more lean protein. Amino acids are considered protein’s building blocks and these acids will help create your baby’s musculature, umbilical cord, and placenta.
  • Opt for whole grains when you can. Eating the occasional piece of white bread is fine, but picking whole grain gives you more fiber and nutrients.
  • Don’t worry too much about fat. Just remember to eat it in moderation and aim to consume mostly healthy fats such as canola oil, fish oil, or olive oil.

2. Select a Good Doctor

A good reproductive endocrinologist or OB/GYN will have the necessary knowledge and listen to you, addressing your concerns. Find a doctor who is always available so that you can easily make an appointment. This is especially important in case of an urgent concern. Your doctor should be on time and be easily reachable.

3. Take Care of Existing Health Problems

Before you decide to try getting pregnant after 40, make sure you have a complete checkup even if you feel okay. Some issues, such as chlamydia, will be symptom-free but can still negatively affect your pregnancy. Uncontrolled thyroid disease, for example, may cause stillbirth or miscarriage or less severe issues such as premature birth, preeclampsia, low birth rate, or congestive heart failure. If you have thyroid issues or diabetes, you and your doctor will have to closely monitor your condition throughout the pregnancy.

4. Consider Using Donor Eggs

While some women over 40 are able to conceive naturally, that is not always the case. Even with assisted reproductive technology, you have a lower chance of conceiving if you use your own eggs. You will have better chances with donor eggs as they will be healthier without any of the issues that can affect eggs as you age.

5. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

You may need to make minor changes to your lifestyle to conceive. Cut back on drinking spirits like wine and quit smoking if you do. Anything risky, such as drug use, should be stopped. You should also try eating like you are already pregnant, reduce stress, and get enough sleep.

6. Keep a Normal Body Weight

Obesity is one of the biggest causes of infertility and having a high BMI can negatively affect your ovulation because of changes in reproductive hormone concentrations due to peripheral conversion within adipose tissues. Remember that you should not rely on starvation or rigorous dieting to lose weight since this will affect your endocrine hormones. Avoid hormonal supplements to help you lose weight; instead do so naturally, slowly, and consistently. Opt for regular daily activities like fertility yoga to promote blood flowing to your reproductive organs.

7. Take Supplements

Vitamin E and selenium supplements can help improve sperm vitality. Selenium protects sperm from free radical and oxidative damage. Folate and iron can also help with mild or moderate subclinical anemia. Folate also helps prevent neural tube defects, a common issue among those who have babies past age 35. Other recommended supplements include vitamin D, calcium, L-arginine, grapeseed extract, L-carnitine, and lipoic acid. Always talk to your doctor about taking supplements to help you conceive.

8. Use Home Remedies

You can pay close attention to your menstrual cycle to figure out when you are most fertile. This is typically by the 14th day in a 28-day cycle or by ovulation. You can use an ovulation predictor kit. Tracking your basal body temperature can also help as it surges slightly by ovulation. You can also try paying attention to cervical secretions to see where you are in your cycle.

When figuring out how to go about getting pregnant after 40, avoid running, going up stairs, heavy lifting, and other strenuous physical activity. You should also try having intercourse in a range of positions to increase penetration. Some experts suggest massaging your uterus or using fertility cleanses.

What Are the Possible Risks of Getting Pregnant After 40?

Sadly, getting pregnant after 40 does increase the risks. If you are healthy, however, these risks will still be fairly low in your early 40s. You should still keep in mind that your egg supply will have decreased and the eggs that are left have a higher risk of chromosomal issues such as miscarriage, birth defects, and Down's syndrome. You also have a higher risk of high blood pressure or heart disease. By staying vigilant and going to the doctor regularly, you can minimize these risks.

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