I’d like to share with you the story of how I got pregnant at 40. If you’ve never been pregnant or if it happened a long time ago, you never quite know if you can get pregnant (again).
And if you are in your late 30s or early 40s you also start to wonder how difficult it may be to become pregnant. And you think about whether the baby will be healthy. After all, most women have heard that the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in the baby increases with age…
So here I was, just turned 40 and ready to finally start a family! Like many women out there, I found myself single at the young age of 38 after an amicable divorce from my now business partner, wondering if I’ll ever have a family.
Luckily I met my match a year later and we were on the same wavelength wanting the same things out of life which included a family. Because I do the work I do – helping infertile couples start a family – I know how difficult it can be. I see how many hoops and obstacles couples need to navigate to finally get the stage ready for a healthy conception, a full-term pregnancy and a healthy baby!
To my benefit, I’d been using natural personal care products for 20 years, filtering my shower and drinking water for 10 years, taking high-quality supplements for a long time – around 24 years at that stage.
Admittedly, I’ve also had my fair share of parties, late nights, long flights and a hangover here and there. Yet I’ve done my best to compensate for the over-indulgences by eating as healthily as I could. And through my love of ski touring, skiing, yoga, swimming and hiking in the sun and the fresh air.
Considering my experience helping others get pregnant, I was confident I had a good chance of getting pregnant myself. But I still didn’t know if I had any genetic polymorphisms. I didn’t know if my tubes were open or not, if I picked up a bug along the way, what my food intolerances were – if I had any. And I also didn’t know anything about my partner’s state of health or sperm. Plus I was a regular smoker from 17-29!
I’d been using a Pearly computer to chart my cycles. It’s made by the same company that makes the Baby and Lady Comp. Pearly is just smaller and easier to travel with and for me was a better option than the Baby Comp.
I didn’t want to just try without having some basic checkups in case I had a preventable miscarriage. Having worked with so many clients over the years who came to me with heartbreaking stories of their miscarriage(s), I was determined to try to prevent one as best I could – providing I could get pregnant in the first place, which I still didn’t know!
The first and only tests included; MTHFR status for us both, thyroid function for me (I have a family history of thyroid issues so wasn’t sure how well mine was doing), food intolerance test for both – if the immune system is in overdrive if could reject the pregnancy, STDs screen, gluten intolerance gene for him due to some suspicious digestive issues.
A sperm analysis would have been also good to do if one wants to try to minimize the risk of miscarriages, but due to work and travel, we didn’t do it. At the time I thought if we are not after 3 months of trying with the correct timing we’ll do the workup for both.
The test results came back; my thyroid was fine with a TSH below 2 which is what you want for a healthy pregnancy and conception, we both had a few food intolerances and we cut those foods out of our diet.
My partner had a heterozygous MTHFR gene polymorphism for which I put him on methylated form of folic acid, I was free of MTHFR mutation, he is a celiac gene carrier and had gluten intolerance so all gluten was immediately cut out and his digestive issues vanished and he lost 10kg as a result – which was a good thing for him. He was again the same weight at 42 as he was at college at 22!
All the other tests were good too. I had some knee joint pain from running so I took Wobenzym N which I thought could also not hurt in case I had some scar tissue or adhesions in my uterus from using the Mirena IUD for couple of years in my late 20s and early 30s.
In addition to my usual supplement regime which consisted of practitioner range supplements for fertility: Ubidecarenone 150mg, women’s multivitamin and multi-mineral, Omega 3s 6000mg, Vitamin D3 5000 IU, Vitamin C 2000mg, Zinc 15mg, 2 TBS Vital Greens, MCT oil, collagen powder, fermented cod liver oil, I added lipoic acid 300mg, switched to a prenatal multivitamin, started probiotics, added sunflower lecithin, and started following a strict diet which was 99% organic had lots of grass-fed free-range animal products like beef, eggs, butter, had cheese from raw milk, green leafy veg, lots of steamed cruciferous veg, berries, nuts and seeds and green juices without fruit.
I cut out gluten, dairy (except for herd cheese and butter) high GI fruit and sugar (except dark chocolate) and I cut down my coffee intake to one a day – I had become a bulletproof coffee fan and was buying Dave Asprey’s mycotoxin free ground coffee – and drank 1-2 cups of organic free and other herbal teas.
Some of the things my partner did to prepare
My partner ate like me, took the same supplements as I did with the exception of male’s prenatal multivitamin with Tribulus herb to boost sperm, extra Tribulus to boost testosterone, methylfolate and methylcobalamin for his MTHFR polymorphism, special supplements with glutamine to help heal his gut wall from all the gluten damage and extra antioxidants in the form of resveratrol to offset his stressful job and high travel frequency for work.
He was informed not to carry his cell phone in his pants pocket and not to place his laptop on his lap. He never liked the Bulletproof coffee but took his FCLO (fermented cod liver oil) daily.
And so after 6 months on this strict diet – supplements – lifestyle regime I thought we were ready to try. In June 2015 we tried, got the timing right and…nothing happened. I wasn’t pregnant. I was surprised, worried, and knowing all that could potentially be wrong I decided to stick to our plan and follow up with an extensive workup in September if we were not pregnant by then.
Finding out I was pregnant after one month of trying!
In July we tried again and…two weeks later, as my partner would describe it, there was a high pitched giggle and laughter that came out of the bathroom as I walked out grinning with a home pregnancy test in my hand showing two pink lines. My period was due on that day, it was Saturday, and it didn’t show up so I did the test. My temperature was also not dropping so pregnancy was possible.
At that point I need to make sure the pregnancy was not ectopic and wanted to get an ultrasound. As we were traveling when I got pregnant and I was not going to be back home for few weeks I called my gynecologist in Switzerland to check if it’s ok to wait, and he said it was fine.
Still a bit nervous when I was 5 weeks along, I asked my dad – who’s a radiologist – to do an abdominal ultrasound to put my nerves at ease – on this small island in the Adriatic sea where our family meets each year. So off we went to a local medical center for a quick ultrasound and the pregnancy was in the uterus. This put me at ease for the time being until at 9 weeks my OBGYN showed me the heartbeat.
I was very strict with my diet and lifestyle and supplements during the whole pregnancy and especially during the first trimester. The first trimester was hard from a psychological point of view as I was working and have had many clients who miscarried at the weeks I was currently pregnant. In the end, it all went well and in April 2016, I gave birth to my beautiful daughter.
The pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding journey and tips are available in our pregnancy program.
How I got pregnant at 40 and gave birth to our daughter at 41
So there you have it, I gave birth to my daughter at 41 after one month of trying to get pregnant. Was it the preparation, was it the avoidance of toxins and intake of supplements for a long time, or would I have gotten pregnant anyway even if I didn’t do any of it beforehand?
There’s no way of knowing for certain but I don’t believe the outcomes would have been as good if we hadn’t prepared and optimized our chances of a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. I say this because I see on myself and others how quickly our health can deteriorate when you start skipping exercise, supplements and eat poor quality food. We all experience this when we are stressed or travel to places with few healthy options etc…
We were lucky in the sense that there were no physical obstacles and no major metabolic issues or systemic conditions I see in a lot of my clients. Nevertheless, natural egg and sperm and hormone optimization go a long way.