Sometimes life doesn’t quite go to plan. Not everyone meets their perfect partner in their twenties or early thirties and sometimes the idea of children comes much later. If you’re looking at getting pregnant after 40 there are certainly some challenges. All is not lost though, here are some of the facts and some tips to improve your chances of bringing home a healthy baby.
What Are The Chances Of Getting Pregnant After 40?
Statistics on this vary but research does suggest that at age 40, your fertility is reduced by about 50% from its peak. This declines rapidly from 40-45 and the chances of conceiving naturally and carrying a baby to term after 45 are generally estimated at under 5%.
Approximately 44% of women who attempt to get pregnant at 40 will conceive within a year.
Tips To Improve Your Chances Of Getting Pregnant After 40
1. Don’t Wait Any Longer
If you are over 40 and want a baby, don’t wait! The research suggests strongly that there is a sharp decline in fertility from 40-45. Every year matters! Even a few extra months could mean the difference between conceiving and not.
2. Aim For A Healthy Weight & Lifestyle
As for all women, being at a healthy weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important for conception. The Healthy Mummy program is a great option as it’s suitable for pregnancy and breastfeeding, so you can just carry on when you do fall pregnant.
Remember point 1 above though… don’t wait until you’ve achieved the perfect weight and ideal lifestyle, time is crucial when you are trying to conceive over 40.
3. Check In With Your GP
Your GP is a great source of help when you’re trying to get pregnant. Ask whether there are any specific blood or other tests they would recommend and ask any questions you may have.
Having a good relationship with your GP will also be helpful if you need to go down the assisted reproduction path in the future so keep the lines of communication open.
4. Start Taking Folic Acid
While folic acid won’t actually help you get pregnant, it is very important for preventing birth defects. All women trying to conceive should be taking folic acid. Ideally from three months before trying to get pregnant. Talk to your GP about recommended dosages.
5. Consider Charting Your Cycle
Not all women ovulate at the same time and you can only get pregnant around the time of the month you are ovulating. Knowing when you are ovulating can be really helpful when you’re trying to get pregnant. Look for changes in cervical mucous (the discharge you get from your vagina during the month). Fertile cervical mucous is like egg white. Watery cervical mucous is also common around ovulation.
You can also chart your cycle quite literally using a technique called “charting”. This involves recording your temperature each morning when waking and looking for a telltale increase in temperature that indicates ovulation has occurred. Ideally you want to be having sex BEFORE ovulation has taken place so charting temperature alone won’t help you get pregnant but it will help you get an idea of when you usually ovulate and whether sex was well timed that month.
6. Try Ovulation Predictor Kits
If you’re unsure when you ovulate or your cycles are a bit irregular, ovulation prediction kits can be really helpful in timing sex in your most fertile period. You can buy them from most supermarkets and chemists.
7. Don’t Wait To Seek Help
If you are in your 30’s, most doctors recommend waiting a year to try and conceive before seeking help from a fertility specialist. When you are over 40, that period drops to 3-6 months. Remember there may also be a wait to get in to see a specialist once you’ve decided to seek help so do it early. Better to need to cancel because you are pregnant than wish you’d booked sooner!
Did you conceive after 40? What was your experience like?