You Can Have a Healthy Pregnancy in Your 40’s!

You Can Have a Healthy Pregnancy in Your 40's!

Life in Your 20s and 30s

You have spent your life in your 20’s finishing up college, and then establishing your career. You also took the time to travel, and you saw fascinating places all around the world. While you were not traveling, you enjoyed your nights out on the town with your friends. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

You also were not ready to settle down at that point. Your relationships were all just for fun as you were not looking to get into anything serious.

Additionally, you cherished your weekends because you loved the fact that you could sleep in until noon- considering that you have to wake up at 6 am on the weekday mornings to go to work. Then, when it was time to head on back home, you could not wait to try out exotic recipes that you found on your favorite gourmet website.

For the nights that you decided to stay home, you either enjoyed watching movies on your own without any interruptions or you enjoyed the time with friends. And even during that time in your 20’s when you were enjoying your freedom- you still wanted to eventually settle down and have a family of your own.

And you figured that you would have your freedom phase out of your system by the time you were in your mid to late 30’s.

And you were right, and you ended up marrying a great man in your late 30’s, and now that you are approaching 40, you want to attempt to get pregnant and create a family of your own.

 

Life in Your 40s

Even though you have absolutely no regrets for enjoying your freedom and life in your 20’s and early 30’s, you have concerns about what kind of complications you could end up facing if you were to start having kids in your 40’s- considering that the odds of pregnancy risks do increase at 35.

And you are not alone because many women are waiting to have kids nowadays for reasons that you had waited- or it may have taken them a long time to meet their mate.

the odds of pregnancy risks do increase at 35

That all said, there are so many women who are having kids in their 40’s, and there is a rise of women getting pregnant in their 40’s.  

The latest data shows that there are 11 babies for every 1,000 women in the 40 to 45 age range born- and there are even many women having babies at 46 years of age- with their own eggs.

Pregnancy can technically happen until a woman reaches menopause is when there have been no periods at all for at least one year. Therefore, if the average woman enters menopause at 51, it is possible to still get pregnant at 50!

However, you are well aware of the risks when it comes to getting pregnant in your 40’s, and let’s go through these concerns.

 

Age and Fertility

You are the most fertile in your early 20’s to your mid-twenties. And your fertility drops slightly from age 29 to age 35. However after you reach 35 years of age, your fertility will start dropping drastically- and once you hit 40, it declines fast.

That being said, if you wait to get pregnant in your 40’s, or even late 30’s, chances are you will not likely conceive on your own- and you will need to see a fertility specialist.

The rule of thumb is that unless there are obvious signs of infertility from the get-go (such as the woman having irregular cycles often), doctors will not send you to fertility specialists in your 20’s until you have been trying to conceive for a year and have not achieved a pregnancy.

Once you hit 35, if you have not conceived on your own for 6 months, then your doctor will refer you to a specialist.

However, at age 40 and above, if you tell your doctor that you are wanting to get pregnant- you will likely be referred to a fertility specialist at any time. That is because of the fact at 40, your fertility has dropped significantly.

 

Why Does Fertility Drop Due To Age?

The fact of the matter is, you are born with a number of eggs, and once puberty hits and menstruation starts in your preteen or early teen years- the number of your eggs drop even more. And with each cycle you have, you lose at least one egg at a time.

That is why the ideal age to get pregnant is from 20 to 25. If teenagers get pregnant, their bodies are not mature enough to handle the pregnancy and that is why they also end up with other complications.

Additionally, teens are still babies themselves and certainly are not mature enough to take care of themselves- let alone babies of their own.

So that means, a 20-year-old woman is physically mature to handle a pregnancy, and her eggs are of excellent quality- unless she has a genetic issue that causes them not to be such as having Mosaic Turner’s Syndrome which frequently causes women to have premature ovarian failure at a young age due to the missing part of the X-chromosome in their genetic makeup.

After 25 years of age, the eggs are still in great shape but the quality does decline a little and declines bit by bit slowly until 35 years of age- when the decline starts to happen rapidly. The quality of the eggs then decline even more at age 40 and above. There are fewer eggs left, and the eggs are becoming old.  

age and fertility

As a result of this fact, your hormones become more irregular and you may have many anovulatory cycles as well due to this.

Based on the hormonal issues you will be facing at 40, as well as the fact that the egg quality is lower- achieving a pregnancy on your own becomes more challenging. However, getting pregnant at 40 and over naturally does still happen, but there are many risks that these women are facing.

 

What Are The Risks Of Being Pregnant At 40 And Older?

If a pregnancy does happen naturally at 40 or older, there is a higher chance of a miscarriage because of the fact that the egg quality overall is much lower- and the hormones being more erratic at that age and not functioning properly.

Additionally, if you have a chronic condition which creeps up at that age such as diabetes, hypertension, and thyroid disorders- your odds of facing pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia become quite high.

That means you not only are at a high risk for having a miscarriage, but you could also have a stillbirth. That is a scary thing to know. If you do have these conditions, you will need to be watched very carefully during your pregnancy to make sure that these complications do not arise- or if they do that they are properly managed.

 

One of the risks you are probably aware of when you conceive in your 40's is the increased odds of having a child with Down's Syndrome

On a less serious note, if you are dealing with middle age aches and pains, you will have a very uncomfortable pregnancy as well.

The best way to reduce the odds of that is by staying fit.

Another risk that you are probably aware of when you conceive in your 40’s is the increased odds of having a child with Down’s Syndrome or some other chromosomal abnormality. That is because as the quality of your eggs decline, the DNA becomes altered as well.

Another risk that happens often is that many women over 35 conceive twins, because since the egg supply is declining- sometimes several eggs are released at once. This may sound like a dream come true for many women.

However, even if the eggs released are of good quality and the embryonic development is normal- having a twin pregnancy alone increases the odds of pregnancy complications!

These are things to consider. And if you are now full of regrets after reading about the risks of waiting until you are in your 40’s to have kids that you did not settle down sooner- don’t be!

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The good news is there are ways to have healthy pregnancies in your 40’s with minimal risks as well.

However, in order to increase your odds of that happening- you may need to be prepared to go through invasive procedures and to spend a lot of money. You will also need to change your lifestyle dramatically as well.

 

Healthy Pregnancy in Your 40’s

1. See a doctor – The first step is to talk to your doctor and have tests done to make sure you are in good enough health. Be prepared to make significant weight changes as well because that will also have an impact on how easily you will get pregnant and will reduce the odds of facing pregnancy complications.

2. Eat healthy You will want to talk to a dietician as well that is knowledgeable about the foods that are considered to be fertility friendly.

That means you will need to stick to foods that are rich in essential vitamins and minerals like fruits, vegetable, especially green leafy vegetables, fish (but stay away from tuna steaks, shark meat, swordfish and king mackerel as they are high in mercury which will be detrimental to your unborn baby). You will want to eat whole-grains instead of refined sugar as that will help your hormones improve.

Eat foods like eggs, avocados, nuts, and seeds as they are rich in the fats and proteins that you need. Lean meat is also important. It is also important to stick to full-fat dairy as it helps regulate your hormone levels too. Don’t forget to take a folic acid supplement and a prenatal vitamin.

Eat Healthy

3. Avoid junk food – You will want to restrict your intake of junk food which includes refined sugar like white bread and pasta, as well as candies, potato chips, pastries, and fast food to name a few. That will only hurt your chances of conceiving.

4. Exercise – Be sure to exercise by taking a half-hour walk, 5 times a week and don’t overdo it with the exercise either. Managing stress is important, and you will want to ditch bad habits like smoking, drinking and doing any kind of drugs.

5. Limit caffeine – You can have less than 200 mg of caffeine a day, so stick with one cup of coffee per morning.

6. Try a fertility supplement – It can’t hurt to try a simple side-effect free over-the-counter fertility supplement while making the above changes. It can help boost your fertility tremendously and may be just the thing needed. ConceiveEasy markets a great all-in-one fertility blend that will kickstart your fertility and may be just the boost you need to get pregnant after 40!

These steps may not help improve the quality of your eggs because that is beyond your control. But they will help reduce the risks of you having pregnancy-related complications.

If you want to maximize your odds of having a healthy child quickly, then this is where the expense and invasive procedures come in.

 

IVF-PGS Is An Ideal Way

If you are understandably concerned about having a baby with Down’s Syndrome or other chromosomal issues, then you will want to look into a high-quality clinic that offers IVF-PGS which is in vitro fertilization, involving the embryos being screened for abnormalities before being transferred back.

IVF-PGS

This procedure will cost you a good $20,000 on average, and some clinics do offer payment options. Be sure to look into your insurance coverage as well. You will have to take many drugs to get your eggs to mature, and you’ll be monitored carefully by blood work and ultrasounds.

Once that retrieval day comes, you will be sedated while your eggs are extracted by a needle that goes past your cervix. Your partner will give them a sperm sample, and then they will fertilize the egg with the sperm. They will watch the development of the embryos over 3 to 5 days and determine which embryos are healthy to be transferred back.

They will likely transfer two because of your age, and you don’t need to be sedated during the transfer as the catheter does the job. You will feel like having a pap. Then in 11 days, you will get tested for pregnancy.

The odds are in your favor that at least one cycle will work. And the reason it is important to keep up with a healthy diet and lifestyle is so the odds of proper implantation is higher- and that you are able to enjoy your pregnancy!

That said, there is hope for having a healthy pregnancy in your 40’s- but you will likely need to go the extra mile to achieve that!

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Maureen Stephens, BS, RN
Maureen Stephens, BS, RN | ConceiveEasy
Ms. Stephens has spent over twenty years in the healthcare world, specializing in obstretical and medical/surgical nursing. She joined ConceiveEasy as she has a strong interest in educating and empowering women and promoting fertility awareness.