I started trying to conceive in my early 40s. After a miscarriage (and endless research) I finally had my baby at age 46.
Can I Get Pregnant in My Forties?
This is a question that, if you have found this page, you may be asking of yourself and indeed, I also wondered this. I spent a long time investigating this issue when it came into my mind that at the age of 43, I was finally ready to have a child.
Whether it is your first child, or you already have a child or children from a previous or current relationship, the issue is the same: is it too late to have a child in your 40s?
For me it was a case of not really being too bothered about having children when I was in my twenties - I was too busy working and having fun and travelling.
In my thirties I did think about it briefly when I was in a stable relationship, but it turned out not to be the right time and in the end the relationship ended.
When I was in my early 40s, and was still not in a relationship, I suddenly had a big urge to have a child and wondered if I had left it too late. I did a lot of investigating and started trying for a child at 43.
Fertility Levels in Women Over 40
As part of my research I investigated the levels of fertility in women over 40. It seems like there is a big difference between trying to conceive at age 40 and conceiving at age 43 because the chances seem to drop drastically after age 40.
However, as much as I investigated, I couldn’t find any consensus on the actual statistical chances, which ranged from 5% to 38%. I guess it is difficult to conduct a decent study when you need to find people who are actually trying to get pregnant at that age.
So, I suppose that what you need to know, if you think you might be pregnant, or you just want to get pregnant, is that there is a chance. We know for a fact that women can get pregnant naturally at age 43, unless they have underlying medical issues that say otherwise.
If you need to know the actual statistics then there are limited studies and hypotheses as well as anecdotal reports on the changes of getting pregnant in your 40s. As the evidence suggests that fertility decreases from 40 onwards then it would make sense to start trying as soon as possible rather than waiting for any length of time.
Most studies regarding having babies in your 40s relate to statistics from IVF treatment. One such report suggests that fertility using your own eggs drops dramatically at age 44 and so we may be able to draw conclusions from this that egg quality may deteriorate significantly the closer you get to age 45 and so this is likely to also affect women who are trying to get pregnant naturally.
So ideally you should be realistic about the chances, but also optimistic as there is definitely a chance of getting pregnant. The closer you are to 40, the higher the chance so start trying as soon as possible. It is also well worth speaking to your doctor (and hopefully find a supportive one) to see if there are some tests that they will do for you to ensure nothing is hindering your chances.
The Good News
Well the good news is that it really is possible to get pregnant at 43. There are a few things that you need to think about - firstly it is going to take longer than it might do otherwise - but don't let this put you off, as long as it is still possible then you have a chance every month.
My personal hints and tips for getting pregnant in your 40s (I was pregnant at 44 and 45, first time was a miscarriage and second I had a baby at 46 although not a natural pregnancy the second time) - is to make sure you try every month if you can. Take a fertility supplement and keep yourself as healthy as possible. If you have a high BMI then losing weight has been shown to be effective in increasing pregnancy levels and also you could try and use a fertility lubricant.
The Bad News
What you also need to know is that the chances of miscarriage in your 40s are hugely increased, so even if you do manage to get pregnant then be aware of this fact.
In the study mentioned a few paragraphs above, 24-54% of pregnancies of women aged 40-44 ended in miscarriage (having gone through IVF). Although this is worrying, as long as you are conscious of this then you can also prepare yourself for any possible eventuality.
Added to that is the possibility of birth defects, which is also much higher in women over 40. Then there is the decision as to whether or not to have an amniocentesis to check for Down's Syndrome and whether this will even matter to you. It is for sure more stressful to try to have a baby over 40 so you need to be well informed of the possible situations that may occur.
To Summarize - Take Action Now!
So, to summarize, if you decide to start trying to get pregnant in your 40s the main thing is to do everything that you can to help yourself and do it as quickly as possible. There are a lot of supplements that you can take and things that you can use to increase your chances and possibly increase the quality of your eggs.
Make sure you have all of your testing done as soon as possible. Your doctor can check your hormone levels to ensure that you are still ovulating and you can get your tubes checked too to make sure there are no blockages.
Doctors will usually check you out within 6 months of starting to try to get pregnant, so get yourself checked out as soon as you hit that milestone (if you can't before).
You should also get your partner checked out with a Semen Analysis. Even if he has kids from a previous relationship then his levels could have changed in the interim. Having said that, if the results are not so good there are things that he can do to make them better.
And lastly, good luck and have fun! :-)
Book Recommended By A Reader
The book above is also available from Amazon UK and you can find it here.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2011 Jackie Grant
MrsJ76 on October 05, 2018:
41 not really trying but it will be a blessing if it happens and I am enjoying the ride. I personally noticed around ovulation I am like Sil the female alien from the movie Species. My desire for sex is kicked into over drive. It seems to me like most of us are well past mistake making age. If you don't want anymore children be proactive in prevention. If you do want more take care of you and be the healthiest vessel for your baby. In any case take care of yourselves ladies. Sounds to me like you Consult medical professionals,congratulation, good luck and be blessed.
Liana2020 on July 17, 2018:
Oh I will this time. It will be a finicail hardship to pay for daycare and I won’t recover from that for a long time. As this child will be 20 when I am 65. So the years of motheing that I did when I was young hampered my ability to work and to create income. The last few years when I could work finally got us a little finicail sucuriety we own our own home but it is a struggle to raise kids on one income mine was mostly bits of part time.i think that is also I big difference for women who didn’t have kids young they can work and establish themselves. Also if you have one kid it’s completly different demand on you mentally and physically then a few kids . That mothers of one child won’t understand that. I talked to another mom my age and she she said she would just die as she is just begging to enjoy kid free time that or murder her husband if she was pregnant late in life.
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on July 16, 2018:
That makes total sense Liana. Can you go back to work and get childcare for your baby? Many women do go back to work quite quickly if that is what suits them. You don't have to be a stay at home mom if that is not what is right for you.
Liana2020 on July 16, 2018:
It has been good to talk to other women who had kids younger they get how hard this is because it would be a nightmare for them too. I think it has to do with longing I longed for so many years to have a job and not be viewed as just a mom ,so many people look down on young moms and to finally have meaningful work and sleep at night it just felt like so sad to go back to siting at the pArk all day and changing diapers . I think for women who have worked and gotten kudos for that Might feel opposite they begin to long for a baby as much as I began to long for an identity of my own beyond mothering. So I think becoming pregnant at the age is experienced as a loss and I’m in mourning.
Liana2020 on July 14, 2018:
Oh they will my husband does a lot of the work. I just know way to much! Pregnancy is so irritating and giving birth terriable! two years before someone sleeps through the night, helping kids make friends all the things you need to teach then from swimming to reading to sewing to hiking, discipline,temper tantrum all the teen years I’ve just done it all and done it really well. I just have left it all on the track
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on July 14, 2018:
Liana yes that must be pretty difficult - like you say it is not often that someone struggles with over fertility, particularly at that age. I totally get that it must be hard to find somewhere to express what you are going through. I hope you get lots of help and support from your family so that it is not too overwhelming when the baby arrives and maybe they can take on some of the work x
Liana2020 on July 14, 2018:
Hoping to come around. My husband kids and extended family could not handle me giving a child up . It’s their sibling and they are excited. I just see no were to express my feelings it’s just moms who spent all the 20 and 30 child free and now want a baby or people who struggle with infertility. But no one who struggles with being more fertile then they can quite handel. I’m also irritated with all the stats saying how hard it is to get pregnant at 45 i had protected sex once that month because my husband was away the rest of the time. No one understands what it’s like to work so hard raising kids when I was young and the sacrifice ( time , money, education,sleep,work,vacation) it took to have to do it all again at 46 just seems so overwhelming.
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on July 14, 2018:
Hi Liana, I guess if you really don't want to keep the child then there are other options. There are many people out there wanting to give a baby a new home if you are really against having another child. Whatever your decision I wish you the best and hope you make peace with what you decide x
Liana2020 on July 13, 2018:
Yes except i’ve already have raised 4 kids who are greAt. So I’m tired of raising kids my energy and my interest are gone .I’m not interested in doing all the things that need to be done as a parent I’m tired of it and want to enjoy watching my children enter into the world indepent of me. I really disliked the baby toddler stage because of how much I work it is . So that’s exactly what I’m not looking forward too is when the baby is here. I have a trauma response to all baby gear my husband has said he’ll buy it and hide because it I can’t even look at it without hyperventilating
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on July 13, 2018:
Hi Liana2020, I guess that does go to show that it can still happen at age 40 and people still need to take precautions at that age. If you are feeling very tired then maybe at some point you can have your iron/thyroid levels checked as you shouldn't be overly tired for no reason (unless you have other reasons for being tired!). I'm sure once the baby is here you will feel differently. I also was pregnant at 45 and delivered at 46 but don't think age has held me back at all in terms of energy so I hope you feel the same eventually! Good luck x
Liana2020 on July 12, 2018:
Accidently pregnant at 45 will deliver at 46 not happy about it I’m wa y to old and tired
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on July 01, 2018:
Hi khanya, I think the best person to speak to about the risks of having a 5th is your doctor or other medical professional.
khanya on July 01, 2018:
I have 4 kids and my husband want the fifth one,I gave birth to them by operation,and I am 40 yrs,what are the risks? plz help
nikki on May 23, 2018:
kamedra yes. it is not to late. your doctor can bring your periods back. also metformin will bring it back. but i do warn you if you are skinny i would not take. i am skinny and it made me even skinnier, but my period came back within 2 weeks
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on April 07, 2018:
Hi kamandefra, if your periods have stopped then it is possible that you have stopped ovulating and are entering menopause. You should get checked out by your doctor and they can advise you if this is the case. If so then the only option may be donor egg IVF.
kamandefra on April 05, 2018:
Thank alot all. Am 45 years and a half old, i have been trying to get pregnant is it possible? My periods ceased at the age of 44 years old. Please advice.
emma spencer on September 24, 2017:
Chances are always low once you cross 40. I am 44 years old. Tried possibly my best to conceive at this age. Even though with numerous of doctors and medications.
We spent almost all of our savings to have baby. Without baby our life seems empty. I feel emotionally scattered and mentally tired. At first I felt my husband frustration towards me but then we talked through it. Due to hormonal imbalance which caused abrupt weight gain and fatigue I am unable to get pregnant. We are considering other options as well. But we are keen to have genetically ours baby. I never thought it would be this difficult. Searching through internet reading other women stories makes me sympathetic. I wish it could be cured for women like us. Who have crossed 40.
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on January 14, 2015:
I guess it only takes once sue!
sue on January 10, 2015:
my husband and i had sex only once and i got pregnant at the age of 43...
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on May 16, 2013:
Yes I definitely found that I ovulated earlier as I got older. Also cervical mucus can be a good guide to when you might ovulate but is good to combine with ovulation tests and maybe even temping. Sorry to hear about your mc, I also had one at 44.
Anonymous on May 16, 2013:
I got surprise pregancy at 41 first time and mc but I think after ur age being in 40s ur hormone & fsh level get higher and also u may be ovulating earlier than normal in 20s and 30s. I think more accurately way to get pregancy is to do ur cervix mucus with ur finger to find out if your ovulating or not How? Read and explore and study u will be amaze what u learn.
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on February 14, 2013:
Kedi I think it would be a good idea to get checked out by your doctor then. It is possible that you may not be ovulating if you are not having your periods but maybe something like clomid will help to put this right.
kedi on February 14, 2013:
will be 43 on november and i need a baby girl the problem is my period i can take a year without seing it
Gabby McMahon from Ennis, Co Clare, Ireland on October 18, 2012:
great article! getting pregnant can be a lengthy and frustrating experience at any age unfortunately. Baby dust to all those trying
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on July 18, 2012:
Hi hello43, have you had any tests done? It would be worth having your day 3 and day 21 blood tests done to check your hormone levels plus a semen analysis for your husband. If you have had these done and they are ok then you may just need to try for a bit longer. Make sure you are having sex during your fertile time by knowing exactly when you are ovulating and maybe try every other day during that time so that the sperm get a chance to rebuild supplies but at the same time they are still fresh. Good luck.
hello43 on July 18, 2012:
I am 43 I have been reading your comments and they are helpful. My husband and I want a baby I have been trying a year, I have taken all of the prenate vitamins that my Dr have given me. What else should I do
Nhlaks on May 22, 2012:
Thanks very much for ur comforting words,my hope is back now. U knw everyday im reading the tips to fall preg easily, and age issue all that worry me. I even read the preg signs and check if i dnt have any. Sometyms i think it caused by having first baby in 30s. Again thanks for advise.
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on May 22, 2012:
Hi Nhlaks, yes indeed you have a good chance, especially as you know you can get pregnant. It just might take a bit longer this time so try and be patient. But really you have a good chance and compared to some you still have plenty of years in front of you. Good luck.
Nhlaks on May 21, 2012:
Im 38 have 6yrs son,im trying for baby from 2010 no lucky,im stressed cause my age is bad,is there any chances,
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on May 21, 2012:
Hi purplered, I'm so sorry for your losses too. It is indeed heartbreaking and I guess we have to decide how much we can take. I did a whole lot of investigating on what vitamins to take to improve egg quality and I wrote an article about it which you can find here: https://discover.hubpages.com/health/How-To-Improv...
I am currently taking CoQ10, maca and melatonin. I used royal jelly and bee pollen for a couple of months before I got pregnant. I haven't tried the DHEA yes as I feel like I am taking enough but I know a few ladies that are taking it and have even been recommended it by their fertility specialists.
I wish you the best of luck if you do decide to try again. x
Purplered on May 21, 2012:
First, I am so sorry for your loss. I have had three miscarriages 1 at 9 weeks and 2 at 5 weeks in the last year and half. It is so heartbreaking.
I am thinking of trying one more time before giving up. Can you tell me what vitamins you are taking to increase egg quality?
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on May 12, 2012:
Hi angel4 I am so sorry for your loss. I am not a doctor but I understand that the chances of this happening again are minuscule. Sending you my best wishes. X
angel4 on May 12, 2012:
hi all . im 42 i have 3 boys age 24,21,2 ad a half ad got preganat 9 months after my little boy .i was told i was having a baby girl ad was over the moon, until 37 weeks i was told my baby died at 37 weeks so hard ..i am trying again but if i get preganatcould this happen again...
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on May 07, 2012:
Hi Worthitx2, thanks for that, I found the book on Amazon so have added a link to it in the article. x
Worthitx2 on May 07, 2012:
Hi Butterfly67, thanks for your lovely note, just to confirm the book is 'Coming to Term, Uncovering the Truth about Miscarriage'.
Rather than written by a dr, its written by Jon Cohen, a Science Correspondent, whose has been a parent of multiple miscarriages himself, and as a result of what happened to him and his wife, decided to take the plunge into the vast cavern of the relatively unknown world of miscarriage - the book is scientific, emotional and personal, with case studies, his scientific interviews, and his own story.... think I bought it on Amazon.
Meanwhile, I'm still going to the loo, and expecting to find blood on the tissue.... jeez. Take care Butterfly67, hang in there, you just never know. X
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on May 06, 2012:
Worthitx2 I just want to say thanks so much for your post that really moved me and I wish you good luck. I will try and find a link to the book you have recommended. X
Worthitx2 on May 06, 2012:
Its such a journey we girls have to go on. I had a beautiful baby, no problems, at 38. Fell pregnant almost straight away.
I then went on to suffer 3 miscarriages. Each seemed to get more horrendous as I lost each one a few more weeks into the pregnancy, had loads of sickness with them too (some say that's a good sign - I say it makes no difference!)
Finally at 42 years old, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. No Downs, no probs.
Now I'm 43 and I'm 2 days late.... I know the odds are less than 10% now for a live birth at my age, 43, probably a lot less with 3 miscarriages behind me, so I'm trying to prepare myself for a realistic re-take of what I know is likely to happen. Its great to be optimistic but miscarriage is a harsh reality.
For anyone who has suffered miscarriage or is trying to get pregnant I do recommend a book called 'Coming to Term'. Its brilliant with loads of insight and cuts to the chase, written by somone we can relate to.
Good luck to you,ladies, when you look at the stats, its a miracle with all the hurdles anyone gets pregnant but we do. You can't alter your age, its out of our hands, all you can do is try.
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on April 24, 2012:
Hi sadiegirl. Unfortunately I am no longer pregnant as I miscarried at 8 and a half weeks. Now my cycles are back to normal I am trying again and hope I manage to get one that sticks. Yes I did conceive naturally. I hope you also get pregnant again and get your baby. I think it is just down to our age that we are more likely to miscarry. Best of luck. X
sadiegirl on April 24, 2012:
Hi Butterfly. I have gotten pregnant twice. Once at 41yr and once at 42 yr. both naturally, both miscarriages. In a previous post you mentioned that you conceived at 44yr. Are you still pregnant? Did you conceive naturally?
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on April 23, 2012:
Hi Susan, I'm so sorry about your miscarriage and how difficult you are finding it. It sucks that it can take us so long to get pregnant at this age and then even when we do the stress is not over. I really hope you get to have a full term baby. Chances are that if you have managed to get pregnant once then you can again but the question we have to ask ourselves is how long we keep trying for as more often than not it is going to take a while. I wish you the best of luck.
Susan on April 23, 2012:
I too am 43, had a miscarriage at 12 weeks last year, and so want another baby, but finding it so difficult :( every time my period is late I get all excited only to feel let down when it comes, been trying for 8 months now and nothing, begining to feel its not gonna happen.
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on April 20, 2012:
Thanks mumx5 what a great story. I have to say I agree you hear more about problems but no so much about the many successes. I take inspiration from your story. X
mumx5 on April 20, 2012:
after 4 children with my husband of 17 years, I thought my family was complete. After he left I met someone, who was younger and he wanted a child. After 2 years together I thought I'd let mother nature decide if it was meant to be. I fell pregnant the first month after having my IUD removed! Unfortunately we lost this one at 9 weeks but I fell pregnant again within a month, but again losing at 11 weeks this time. 2 months later I was pregnant again and went on to have a beautiful baby girl 5 days after my 43rd birthday. I read all the stats about conceiving over 40 and warned him that it might not happen, but where do they get these from? Mainly from those who come forward with problems, who may have had problems in their 30s and 20s anyway. If you're fit and health, give it a try. I conceived 3 times in 10 months. My daughter is perfect. She walked at 9 months and at 11months is already saying her first words!!
If you worry too much, you put pressure on yourself and your body and you take the fun out of your relationship. You can time things perfectly but after 5 kids I know that the timings isn't always as you expect, number 4 was a result of avoiding my fertile time!!!! The key is, to have sex as often as possible. Don't put all the emphasis onto one or two days, make it fun, relax, enjoy and await the results...Good luck girls xxx
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on February 29, 2012:
Why do you say that sue? There are plenty of women getting pregnant at 43 but it just might take a bit longer.
sue on February 29, 2012:
im 43 and its totally impossible
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on February 18, 2012:
Hi gill, the most important thing is to get your timing right. You need to know when you ovulate to know when the best timing is to have sex. Check out my other article on 'when will I ovulate' for more info. If you have been trying for a year to get pregnant then you can go and see your doctor for some tests to check everything is working. Good luck.
Gill on February 18, 2012:
I am 29 yrs and i am suffuring to get prenant i need help
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on February 12, 2012:
So after 10 months of trying I got pregnant at the age of 44. This was after a poor SA report but with both of us taking vitamins and supplements to improve egg and sperm quality.