Getting pregnant after 35 is no longer uncommon in many parts of the world. Since 1970 the average age of women giving birth for the first time has advanced from 21 to 25.6 years in the US, according to CIA’s factbook. In the UK and Ireland, the average age for first-time mothers is 28.1 years and 29.9 years.
- Getting pregnant in your 40s has its perks
- Increased chance of twins
- Chances of getting pregnant in your 40s
Getting pregnant in your 40s has its perks
Getting pregnant later can have its definite perks. Studies show that people who wait to have children until they reach their 30s or even 40s are usually more financially equipped to take care of a child. The extra years also make you wiser, Baby Centre writes.
Women who wait until their 40s to have children are also usually able to return to work at a higher level of pay than younger women, even if they decide to work part-time. This can make a big difference as raising a child is estimated to cost about £13,000 per year in the UK.
Increased chance of twins
If you get pregnant after 40 you are more likely to have twins. As you approach menopause your hormones work harder to release an egg from your ovaries. This often results in two eggs being released at the same time during ovulation. Both of these eggs can be fertilised resulting in non-identical twins.
If you are getting assisted conception, the follicle-stimulating hormones you’ll be given also increase your chances of conceiving more than one baby. Follicle-stimulating hormone is one of the most important hormones in your menstrual cycle, and tests for this hormone can indicate if your body is ready to conceive.
The thought of having twins might be a pro for many couples, however, it is important to be aware of the fact that carrying twins increases the risk of something going wrong during the pregnancy or at birth.
Chances of getting pregnant in your 40s
Experts warn that waiting might mean you will have a harder time getting pregnant.
“I have witnessed all too often the shock and agony on the faces of women who realise they have left it too late to start a family.” says Professor Geeta Nargund, Britain leading expert on fertility with the National Health Service.
She encouraged women to be trying for a baby by the age of 30, as fertility falls sharply after turning 35.
Prof Nargund, who works as the lead consultant for reproductive medicine at St George’s Hospital in London says “As women get older, they experience more complex fertility problems, so treatment tends to be less successful and more expensive. On average, more in-vitro fertilisation treatment cycles are required for a successful pregnancy. Educating people about fertility is very important for the public purse because it will help us to get more babies within the same NHS budget.”
Studies have shown that 90% of women between the ages of 35 and 39 who are trying to get pregnant naturally will succeed within two years. After 40 however, you have a 20% chance of conceiving naturally (based on the average annual rate of pregnancy per cycle). This falls to less than 5% by the mid-40s, according to Baby Centre.
As you get older the chance of miscarriages and complications increase. The odds of chromosomal problems jump as you get older. About one in 200 babies born to women aged 40 or over have Down’s syndrome. This compares with one in 700 babies born with mums aged 35 to 39, and one in 1,500 babies born to mums aged 20 to 24.
Four simple tips
Medical treatment has come far in the last few years and more people who are re productively challenged are now able to conceive than before.
If you are 40 and trying to get pregnant here are four simple tricks to boost fertility:
Find a good doctor: If you have been trying to get pregnant for awhile and you are over 40 seeking help from a good doctor might be a good way to get the process going. Your doctor should also be able to answer any questions you may have about getting pregnant.
Deal with existing health problems before trying to get pregnant: Checking for STIs and other health issues that might prevent pregnancy before you start trying to get pregnant can help shorten the time it takes you and your partner to conceive according to The American Pregnancy Association.
Stay healthy: All experts confirm that you are more likely to get pregnant is you are relaxed and healthy. This means no smoking and cutting down on alcohol as well as working out on a regular basis.
Invite your partner to join you: It takes two to make a baby. Excessive heat, smoking and alcohol all reduce sperm quantity and should be avoided, according to The American Pregnancy Association.
Taking regular fertility tests, and checking your natural hormone level and ovarian count might also give you a clearer picture of how long you can wait before you should start trying to get pregnant.
Read more about Tips For Getting Pregnant
Written by Hannah Kingston | Approved by Medical Director Dominic Rowley