• Dr Tarundeep Kaur

1 in 3 women over 35 will seek a fertility expert's support, and that number rises with age.

There is no “right time” for getting pregnant. Nevertheless, it has often been said to most people that having a baby after you are 35 raises several health risks. This may have led you to believe that after this point you are less likely to become pregnant. Statistically, in your 30s, your chances of becoming pregnant without the help of fertility treatment are around 75%. That number in your early 40s is about 50% and drops to just 1% or 2% by the time you're 43.

In your early 20s, you are at your most fertile. Your fertility begins to decline more rapidly after age 32 and even faster after age 37. Women have a finite number of eggs. At birth, your ovaries have eggs between 1 to 2 million and half of them will be gone during puberty. The number of eggs continues to decrease as you get older. Also, your eggs are as old as you are, and older eggs don't fertilise as easily.

You will have a better chance of becoming pregnant if you have a clear understanding of your menstrual cycle. The average duration is 28 days, but for some women, it can range from 20 to 40 days. If your cycle is regular you are likely to ovulate 2 weeks before your next cycle begins. Chances of getting pregnant will be higher if both partners are healthy and avoid smoking, alcohol consumption, and eat a healthy diet. You should seek the help of a fertility specialist after the age of 35 if you have not conceived after 6 months of well-timed intercourse with no birth control. Treatment includes investigating the cause of not conceiving, which includes few fertility tests like checking the quality of eggs, sperm tests, sexually transmitted infection testing, and possibly an ultrasound. Depending on the result of investigations, treatment may include hormone therapy, IVF (in vitro fertilization), artificial insemination.

If you're over 35 and you're pregnant, it's vital to get good antenatal care, as there are a few issues you need to look out for, such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and twin pregnancy. Genetic counselling and screening such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling are imperative to rule out any chances of birth defects in babies born to elderly women. While you may have some challenges to overcome when it comes to getting pregnant and having a child in your early 40s, you are not alone. At this age, the number of women who have babies is rising. With appropriate prenatal care, you still have fair chances of having a healthy baby. Take that to heart and embrace your pregnancy happily.

Authored by:

Dr. Tarundeep Kaur

22 October 2019

Dr. Tarundeep's experience in the medical field extends from practising as a general physician for almost 10 years to more recently working as clinical lead in one of the top e-pharmacies in India. She strongly believes in merging medicine with the latest technology to provide convenient, accessible and cost-effective patient care.

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