It is becoming more common for women to wait to conceive until the age of 40. Women all over the world have gradually become more confident about embracing their freedom during youth, focusing on career goals as they become more clear, and choosing to have children once they really are sure that the time is right. While it hasn’t become what you might consider the “norm”, there are many who have done it this way.
Unfortunately, women’s fertility does begin to decline after they have reached the age of 30, and much more once they reach 37 and above. Because of this, 40 year old women have a 5% chance of getting pregnant, and those who do, have a 34% chance of miscarriage. This is why it is extremely important to know all of the facts and to talk to a specialist about your options before you go any further.
A fertility specialist will help you navigate the most successful and safest ways to achieve pregnancy at your age. Use the information below to help you gather any questions you may have for your doctor and bring them along to your appointment so you don’t forget anything. The more information you have the better.
The Risks of Pregnancy at 40
Though there are many women who have achieved healthy pregnancies at 40, there are high risks for complications in the pregnancy such as:
- Hypertension, high blood pressure during pregnancy
- Gestational diabetes, when blood sugar levels become too high
- Ectopic pregnancy, when the fertilized egg attaches itself in a place outside of the uterus
- Placental problems, which can cause issues with the baby’s growth, premature birth, and stillbirth
- Cesarean delivery, or c-section, when the baby is delivered through an incision in the abdomen or uterus
What You Can Do
A healthy pregnancy depends a great deal on the state of your body and the strength of your own health. For your part, you will want to make sure that you are eating well and eliminating any poor lifestyle choices that you may normally engage in. In order to carry out a healthy pregnancy, it will help if you can:
- Improve your egg health
- Improve your uterine health
- Balance out your hormones
- Strengthen the pelvic floor muscles
- Manage your stress levels
Obviously, some of these you will not be able to do on your own. Still, it is up to you to make the choices that are necessary to achieve them. A fertility specialist will provide you with all of the best information on how to prepare your body and tell you about the most promising treatments that are available to you.
Fertility Treatment Options
If you have been trying to get pregnant naturally for 6 months or more with no success then it is time to seek the help of a fertility clinic. It is possible that you have come to the point where your ovarian reserve has run out. This is completely normal and there are still options available to you. If your reserve is low, a specialist may recommend:
- Clomid, a medication that stimulates ovulation
- Intrauterine insemination, placing sperm directly into the uterus in an attempt to achieve fertilization and pregnancy
- In vitro fertilization, fertilizing the egg with sperm outside of the body and then placing it in the uterus in an attempt to achieve pregnancy
- Using an egg donor
Each fertility clinic has a different age limit after which they will no longer provide treatment using the woman’s personal egg supply. This age limit usually falls between 42 and 45. Most clinics accept women up to the age of 50 who wish to be the recipient of donor eggs.
Conception After 40 Is Possible
Many women over 40 can and do become pregnant and eventually find themselves the parents of healthy children. Conceiving naturally is possible, but in any case you should still talk to your doctor or a fertility specialist so that you are fully aware of the risks and if there are any precautions you should be taking.
Your doctor will most likely want to take some additional tests and continue to monitor things throughout in order to ensure that you and your child are in the best health possible. Find a specialist you know that you can trust. When it comes to you and your baby’s health, you will want to be beyond sure that you are in good hands.