Getting pregnant after 40 is becoming more and more common these days. Studies have confirmed that late childbearing is linked to educational status. Women these days prefer to delay pregnancy so they can preserve their socioeconomic status.
As more women become professionals, more women also become first time mothers at 40 and older. In 2004, about 20 % of births were from mothers of 35 years and older. Today, the median age for motherhood has gone up to 31 years old, as opposed to 27 years old in 1985.
It is already known that becoming pregnant becomes harder as you age because fertility decreases as we grow older. Ovulation occurs less frequently and egg quality becomes lower through the years. Older women are at a higher risk of diseases such as endometriosis. Although infertility problems are common in older women, they are easily treated. Women in their forties can get pregnant provided that they prepare properly for pregnancy, at least 120 days before conception.
When you are older, you may have to visit your doctor or gynecologist more frequently than younger women do. This way you’ll be informed immediately if you are affected with conditions common to your age group, diabetes and hypertension for example. You may also have to monitor your lifestyle and diet more keenly than usual. You and your partner will be under the close supervision of your health care provider. Your natural fertility naturopath may advise you when your most fertile days are. Also, she may give your partner some tips on how to improve his sperm health.
Fathers should be preparing for pregnancy as well. If the father is also older, he may have to follow a strict diet and live a healthy lifestyle. Both your efforts are important in ensuring the pregnancy becomes a success. Your partner should be in this journey to parenthood with you. When you are older, you need all the support you can get to become pregnant.
The best time to get pregnant is when your body is fit and you are under no danger of complications after giving birth. This can be attained by taking on a lifestyle conducive to the healthy development of your baby in your womb. Dietary changes alone need three months for the changes to take effect. You also have to get rid of any bad health habits such as smoking and drinking. Alcohol consumption should be kept to a bare minimum. These lifestyle changes take time and are dependent on the will of the person trying to change. When you are older and you plan to get pregnant, you and your partner should try to live and eat healthily for at least 3 months prior to conceiving.
The basic nutrition needed for pregnancy is actually the same across all ages. However, older women may have special nutritional needs. Including at least 400 mcg of Folic acid can help reduce your baby’s risk of neural tube problems such as spina bifida. Folic acid is extremely effective in preventing neural tube defects reducing the risks by between 30 and 70 %. Polycystic ovary symptom is a common cause of anovulation and is more common in older women. Insulin resistance, a health condition associated with PCOS, causes hormonal imbalance in your body that interferes with ovulation. By eating more whole grains, low GI fruits and non-starchy vegetables, you reduce insulin resistance. Perimenopause is the period right before menopause. Here, women tend to gain weight more easily than when they were younger. Before you attempt to get pregnant, try to lose those extra pounds. Being overweight at the onset of pregnancy can put you at a higher risk for hypertension and gestational diabetes.
With proper treatment and close monitoring, older couples can enjoy a natural and healthy pregnancy. Getting pregnant after 40 should not be a problem at all.
Iva Keene is co-founder and director of Natural-Fertility-Prescription.com. She has been a qualified, accredited Naturopathic Physician for over 13 years, holds a Bachelor's degree in Health Science and a Masters degree in Reproductive Medicine. Since founding NFP in 2008, Iva's articles, videos, guides and reports have reached over 1.3 million people. Iva has dedicated her professional life to supporting couples on their path to parenthood with scientifically grounded information, protocols and coaching around preconception care, natural infertility treatments and integrative reproductive health.