Getting Pregnant in Your 40s
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
This book was recommended by a reader (see comments below by 'worthitx2') as highly recommended to anyone who has suffered a miscarriage, which seems like a large percentage of those who are over 40, if not all people trying to get pregnant.
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